First Hit #1: April 9, 1966
Two things can happen when you try to punch up your songs with some soaring dramatic orchestration. You either rise to an epic height, or you drown. Amazingly, in spite of having possibly the most soaring chorus that is technically possible, the Righteous Brothers don’t drown. They throw everything at this song, it’s an epic skyscraper of an arrangement, and yet the brothers rise above it, hitting the peaks and keeping the dramatic flow going. It’s a song that probably couldn’t work with many other artists, at least not in this form. You need a strong voice to get to those peaks, and you need to be able to remain powerful in the quieter moments between them. It’s a song of great power – to the point where I’m surprised that I can’t remember any films that lean heavily on it to give moments dramatic resonance – and it’s an incredibly difficult song to get around. It’s not only impressive as a composition, but as a technical feat above all.