About the song

Ah, yes, The Righteous Brothers’ “Soul and Inspiration” (1966). Now that’s a song that evokes a very specific era in music history. Let’s delve into this soulful gem and explore what made it such a landmark track.

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The Righteous Brothers, a powerhouse duo comprised of Bill Medley’s rich baritone and Bobby Hatfield’s soaring tenor, had already established themselves with their iconic collaboration with producer Phil Spector on the heart-wrenching ballad “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” (1964). However, “Soul and Inspiration” marked a turning point for them. It was their first major hit after parting ways with Spector, venturing into a slightly different sonic territory.

Composed by the legendary songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, the songwriters behind countless classics, “Soul and Inspiration” retained the emotional intensity characteristic of The Righteous Brothers, but with a dash of something fresh. While Spector’s signature “Wall of Sound” production was absent, the track embraced a more stripped-down, soulful approach. The rhythm section lays down a steady groove, punctuated by Bill Medley’s soulful vocals expressing utter devotion. Listen closely, and you can hear the subtle gospel influences that weave their way into the melody.

The true magic of “Soul and Inspiration” lies in the interplay between Medley and Hatfield. Medley delivers the verses with a heartfelt sincerity, professing his love’s all-encompassing power: “You’re the reason for my living, you’re the sunshine in my day” Then, Hatfield swoops in on the soaring chorus, his voice reaching for the rafters as he declares: “You’re my soul and inspiration.” This call-and-response creates a beautiful tension, perfectly capturing the intensity of passionate love.

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The song’s release in February 1966 was a resounding success. It shot to number one on the Billboard Hot 100, staying there for three weeks. “Soul and Inspiration” resonated with audiences, offering a potent blend of soulful energy and raw emotion. It cemented The Righteous Brothers’ reputation as masters of vocal delivery and solidified their place in American pop music history.

“Soul and Inspiration” transcended its chart success. It became a cultural touchstone, a song that continues to resonate across generations. Its impact can be heard in countless artists who followed, particularly those influenced by the blue-eyed soul movement. Whether belted out in a karaoke bar or featured in a movie soundtrack, the song’s timeless quality ensures its enduring legacy.

So, the next time you hear those opening bars of “Soul and Inspiration,” take a moment to appreciate the artistry of The Righteous Brothers, the songwriting genius of Mann and Weil, and the enduring power of a well-crafted love song.

Video

Lyrics

“(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration”

Girl, I can’t let you do this
Let you walk away
Girl, how can I live through this?
When you’re all I wake up for each day baby

You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
You’re all I got to get me by
You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
Without you baby what good am I?

I never had much going
But at least I had you
How can you walk out knowing
I ain’t got nothing left if you do, baby

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You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
You’re all I got to get me by
You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
Without you baby what good am I?
Oh, what good am I?

Baby, I can’t make it without you
And I’m, I’m telling you honey
You’re my reason for laughing, for crying
For living and for dying

Baby, I can’t make it without you
Please, I’m begging you baby
If you go it will kill me, I swear it
Girl, I just can’t bear it

You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
You’re all I got to get me by
You’re my soul and my heart’s inspiration
Without you baby what good am I?
What good am I?