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593 Topics: The Righteous Brothers – “You’ve Got That Loving Feeling” and “Unchanged Melody;” ingrate, malcontent, and ungrateful; to allow versus to authorize; pronouncing morning versus mourning

Complete Transcript
You’re listening to ESL Podcast’s English Café number 593.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast’s English Café episode 593. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

On this Café, we’re going to talk about a famous American singing group, the Righteous Brothers. And as always, we’ll answer a few of your questions. Let’s get started.

Today we’re talking about the Righteous Brothers. The Righteous Brothers was the singing duo that was mostly popular back in the 1960s. The word “righteous” (righteous) originally describes someone with very high moral or ethical standards, someone who knew what was right and what was wrong. Beginning in the 1960s, however, this word “righteous” became a slang or an informal term to mean very good or excellent. A “duo” (duo) is a group of two people – basically two people who perform together to entertain people.

We often use the word in referring to two musicians who perform together. You can think, for example of, oh, I don’t know, Simon and Garfunkel from the 1960s also. They were a singing duo. There were comedy duos, especially back in the 1950s and ’60s and ’70s. For some reason, comedy duos aren’t as popular anymore, although they are still somewhat popular in Great Britain, but here in the U.S., you don’t hear about a lot of comedy duos. You instead will see individual comics, a man or a woman.

When it comes to singing, however, there are still singing duos, and the Righteous Brothers was an example of a singing duo – two men who sang together. The group, the two men, were Bobby Hatfield and Bill Medley. Their music was influenced strongly by what we call “soul music.” “Soul” (soul) is normally a word we used to describe the immaterial part of one’s existence. I don’t want to get philosophical on you, or theological with you. A “soul,” however, is often used to talk about that which survives after your body dies, although in some philosophical systems, a soul is something present in every living being.

In any case, we’re talking here about not philosophy, but music. “Soul music” was actually a style of music that was traditionally associated with African Americans in the United States. It combined rhythm and blues with the tradition of gospel music, more religious music. Many of the soul music songs had a lot of emotion in them. In fact, when we talk about something “having soul,” we often use that word to describe emotion or strong feelings.

Soul music, then, was popular in the African-American community, and because other, non-African-American musicians got interested in this style of music, it began to become popular among the larger non-black population in the U.S. The Righteous Brothers were white, but they were strongly influenced by soul music. In fact, some people call them the “blue-eyed soul duo.”

In 1964, the Righteous Brothers were signed to, or signed a contract with, a new record label called Phillies Records. A “record label” (label) is a record company, a company that makes musical albums and sells that music to the public. Two young men named Phil Spector and Les Sill owned this record label. Spector was a very talented music producer, and he was instrumental, one might say – that is, he played an important role – in adding different and unusual musical instruments to songs that made them more interesting, and some would say more fun to listen to.

Spector used this skill with the Righteous Brothers’ songs, which he also in many cases helped write. The first major success that the Righteous Brothers had was with the song “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” in 1965. Many people of a later generation associate this song with a movie, the movie Top Gun with Tom Cruise, because Tom Cruise’s character sings this song, or at least pretends to. The song is one you may be familiar with:

You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips.

There’s no tenderness like before in your fingertips.

You’re trying hard not to show it, baby

But baby, baby I know it

You can just hear that next part of the song, right? Well, hold on. Let’s talk about the first part. The song is obviously about a romantic relationship, as most popular songs are, but this relationship isn’t working well anymore. The singer says that the woman he is singing to doesn’t close her eyes anymore when the two of them kiss. When they’re kissing, their kissing is no longer passionate. She doesn’t seem interested in him anymore.

Then he says “there’s no tenderness” in her fingertips. “Tenderness” (tenderness) means kindness or gentleness. I think he means here that when she touches him with her fingertips, he doesn’t feel as though she loves him as much anymore. Her touch isn’t as soft and as caring. Your hands each have five fingers. The very ends of your fingers are called your “fingertips” (fingertips).

He says, “You’re trying hard not to show it,” that is, he thinks his girlfriend is trying not to let him know that she no longer loves him. He believes she’s trying to hide that. But in the main or repeating part of the song, what we call the “chorus” of the song, he says what he believes is true. He says:

You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling

Whoa, that lovin’ feeling

You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling

Now it’s gone . . . gone . . . gone . . . whoa

That’s my favorite part of the song. “Whoa,” I love the “whoas” from the old ’50s and ’60s songs. We need more of those. Anyway, the chorus begins, “You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling.” You no longer love me, basically. This loving feeling is gone. It is no longer present – and of course, he’s very sad and so he sings this louder and louder because he’s not happy, of course.

The song was an immediate hit – that is, an immediate success. It became very popular quite quickly. It was, as I mentioned earlier, used again in the 1988 movie Top Gun. That movie made the song popular again about 20 odd years later. The Righteous Brothers had another successful song back in 1965. It was called “Unchained Melody.”

The word “unchained” (unchained) means free from having any connections or ties with another person or another thing.

A “chain” (chain) is usually a long, thin piece of metal that is put around an animal or sometimes a human being to prevent that person or that animal from leaving or from moving. So, “unchained” would be without chains. A “melody” (melody) is the series of musical notes that make up a song or a piece of music. “Unchained melody” was not written by the Righteous Brothers or Phil Spector. It was actually from an old movie, a 1955 movie called Unchained.

That movie, interestingly enough, was about a group of prisoners. Remember, I just said that we sometimes use chains on human beings to prevent them from leaving or moving. Well, one example of that would be a “prisoner” (prisoner). A prisoner is someone who is being held in a jail or a place we call a “prison.” If you break the law and are sent by the judge to a prison, you become a “prisoner,” someone who cannot leave a certain place because you are being punished for the crime you committed.

In the movie, one of the prisoners sits on his bed with a guitar and sings a song about how much he misses his girlfriend and wonders if she will still love him when he gets out of prison. It begins:

Whoa, my love

My darling

I’ve hungered for your touch

A long, lonely time

Another great song which has, of course, “whoa” in it. The song begins, “Whoa, my love.” “Whoa” here is probably an expression of sadness, of grief. He says, “my darling.” “Darling” (darling) is an old term that you will still hear. It’s what we would call a “term of endearment,” a word that indicates you like someone or love someone. Husbands and wives will often have their own terms of endearment for each other – “honey” or “sweetie” or “my love.”

“Darling” is an example of a term of endearment. He’s calling out to his girlfriend. He’s saying, “my darling, I’ve hungered for your touch.” “To hunger” (hunger) means to have a strong desire or wish for something or someone. As a noun, “hunger” describes the feeling you have when you want to eat. As a verb, “to hunger” means to have a strong desire for something or someone.

This poor prisoner is hungering for his girlfriend’s “touch” (touch). “Touch” is both a noun and a verb. “To touch” someone is to put some part of your body in contact with another person’s body. Often, we touch people with our hands. Well, he misses the touch of his girlfriend. He’s missed it for a “long, lonely time.” “To be lonely” means to be by yourself and feeling sad, to be alone and not happy about the situation. Just because you’re “alone” (alone) doesn’t mean you’re “lonely” (lonely). Some people like to be alone. Other people, when they are alone, are lonely – they miss other people.

The song continues, “And time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much. Are you still mine?” he asks. To say “time goes by so slowly” means it seems as though time is moving very slowly. “Time can do so much,” he says. This expression I think means that over time people can change, and perhaps he thinks that his girlfriend will no longer love him. That’s why he ends by asking, “Are you still mine?” meaning do we still love each other? Are you still my girlfriend? Well, he’ll find out when he gets out of prison.

The Righteous Brothers’ version of this song was also very, very popular. It was a big hit. The song was so popular that it was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Song for that year. The Righteous Brothers recorded the song in 1965, and the great Phil Spector added his famous instrumental sounds to it in order to help it become a huge success. As in the case of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” it became a popular song on the radio and was again made popular by a movie several years later.

The movie in this case was the 1990 movie Ghost, starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. Ghost was a love story, in case you haven’t seen it, about a man who dies and the woman that he loved. People quickly forgot that the song was originally about another movie about prisoners. Instead they remember the song being as one about lost love and true love. It’s somewhat interesting to note that the Righteous Brothers’ popular songs from 1965 both became popular again within about two years of each other thanks to two different movies.

The Righteous Brothers stopped singing together in 1968, though they have gotten together many times over the following decades. In 2003, however, that no longer was possible because one of them, Bobby Hatfield, died right before a performance. A few years later, Bill Medley found a new singing partner who would sing the parts of the songs that Hatfield used to sing, and they still travel today in 2017 calling themselves the Righteous Brothers, although of course it’s not quite the same as the duo that you hear on the radio or in old movies.

I should mention that the famous producer of the Righteous Brothers, Phil Spector, also was a music producer for other famous groups. Spector’s life, however, did not turn out very happy. He was accused of and convicted of murder and is currently in a prison here in California. Perhaps he can sing “Unchained Melody” to himself.

Now let’s answer some of the questions you have sent to us.

Our first question comes from Berhouz (Berhouz) in Iran. The question has to do with three words: “ingrate,” “malcontent,” and “ungrateful.” Let’s start with “ingrate” (ingrate). “Ingrate” is a noun referring to a person who does not show thanks for something, especially after he is given something or something is done for him. An “ingrate” would be a person to whom you give something but who doesn’t thank you back, who doesn’t say “thank you.” That’s an “ingrate.”

The word is closely related to the adjective “ungrateful” (ungrateful). “Ungrateful” means someone who doesn’t show thanks for gifts or things that are done for him. “Ingrate” is the noun. “Ungrateful” is the adjective. There is also the adverb “ungratefully.”

A “malcontent” is a little different. It doesn’t mean the same as “ingrate” or “ungrateful.” “Malcontent” (malcontent) is a noun referring to a person who is always unhappy or always angry about something, someone who is never content, someone who is never satisfied, someone who is always, in some way, mad at the world. That’s a “malcontent.”

Our next question comes from Michel (Michel) on Reunion Island, way out in the Indian Ocean. Michel wants to know the difference between “to allow” (allow) and “to authorize” (authorize). “To allow” can mean to make something possible for someone in order to have something or do something. For example, having $100 allows me or gives me the possibility of being able to go to a nice restaurant – except here in Los Angeles, where you’ll probably need closer to $300. But in most places, $100 allows you to do certain things like go to a good restaurant.

“To allow” more commonly means to permit something to happen, to say it’s okay for you to do a certain thing. For example, in some places you are allowed to bring your dog into a café. That’s not true in the city and county of Los Angeles if the café also serves food. However, in some places it is allowed. We might also say it is “permitted.” Many things obviously are not allowed in certain places. Smoking is not allowed in restaurants in California. You cannot smoke at any restaurant or bar in the state of California. That’s not allowed.

So “to allow” something means to permit it, to say it’s okay for you to do something or have something. It doesn’t mean that you agree with it or you approve of it. It just means that you won’t stop it. “To authorize” is closely related to the verb “to allow.” It means to allow, but is used in cases where we’re talking about the government or the police or some official organization which is giving someone permission to do something, allowing someone to do something.

However, “authorize” is also used in the sense of giving someone power to do something. So, for example, a police officer is authorized to stop and ask you questions if he thinks you are committing a crime. The government gives him the power to do that. So, “authorize” is used not just to mean to give permission to do something, to allow someone to do something, but has more of a legal or official sense of giving someone not only permission, but also in many cases the official or legal ability to do something.

Finally, Dennis (Dennis) in Ukraine wants to know about the pronunciation of two different words. The first word is spelled (morning) and is pronounced “morning.” That word refers to the early part of the day, after the sun has risen, usually until about noon or 12 p.m.

The second word is pronounced exactly the same, at least in my dialect or version of American English, (mourning). That kind of “mourning” refers to a feeling of sadness or grief, usually after someone has died. Some people also refer to “a period of mourning,” a period of time during which we are sad and we remember the person or people who have died. Queen Victoria of England famously had a “period of mourning” that basically lasted her entire life after her husband died in the middle of the nineteenth century. She was mourning even in the morning.

That’s all we have time for today. From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on the English Café.

ESL Podcast’s English Café is written and produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. This podcast is copyright 2017 by the Center for Educational Development.

righteous – an informal term meaning very good or excellent; someone with high moral standards, or a good sense of right and wrong

* That was a righteous concert and I’m so glad I saw the band in person!

duo – a group of two, usually in entertainment or music

* This husband and wife duo performs magical acts on stage.

soul music – a type of music traditionally performed by African American artists, combining rhythm and blues and gospel music, with powerful emotions

* Aretha Franklin’s song “Respect” is a soul music classic.

record label – a company that enters into contracts with musicians and produces their music for a fee

* The record label had many successful singers and musicians who had signed contracts with them.

tenderness – gentleness and kindness

* The mother picked up her baby and looked at her with great love and tenderness.

fingertips – the ends of one’s fingers not attached to the rest of the hand

* Josh tried to catch the ball, but it slipped off of his fingertips.

unchained – free or having removed the ties that hold someone down

* After ending her terrible relationship, she felt unchained and free to start again.

melody – a nice-sounding series of musical notes that form the main part of a song or piece of music

* The man hummed a happy little melody and smiled as he walked down the street.

prisoner – someone legally held in prison as punishment for a crime he or she has committed

* The prisoners are allowed out of their cells for exercise one hour a day.

darling – a term of affection used to call someone one cares about or loves

* Darling, you look wonderful in your new dress tonight.

to hunger – to have a strong want or desire for someone or something

* After living in the wilderness for weeks, he hungered for a long shower and home-cooked hot meal.

lonely – the feeling of sadness one has because one is alone or has no friends

* When Monique moved to Seattle, she felt lonely at first, but quickly made a few friends.

ingrate – a person who does not show appreciation or thanks for something he or she should; an ungrateful person

* We go out of our way to help her and she thinks we should have done even more. What an ingrate!

malcontent – a person who is always or often unhappy or angry about something; a person who is never satisfied and often making trouble

* Our employees are happy to work here, with the exception of a couple of malcontents.

ungrateful – not feeling or showing thanks for gifts or favors as one should; not grateful

* If don’t call Grandma to thank her for the birthday present she sent, she’ll think you’re ungrateful.

to allow – to permit something to occur; to permit someone to have or do something

* The police officer allowed the prisoner to make a phone call to his lawyer.

to authorize – to give power or permission to someone or for some action to be taken; to give legal or official approval for something

* Who authorized the building of a waste treatment plant next to a school?

morning – the early or first part of the day; the part of the day between midnight and noon

* Miguel wakes up every morning at 5:00 to get to work by 7:00.

mourning – a period of deep feelings of sadness because someone has died

* Jack is in mourning after his mother died from a long illness.

What Insiders Know
Types of Soundtrack Recordings

A “soundtrack” is any “recorded” (able to be played repeatedly) music that “accompanies” (is used with) the images and sounds in a movie, TV show, or audio book. Soundtracks can help to “dramatize” (make something feel more real and more emotional) the story and “engage (involve; capture the attention of) the audience.

There are many different types of soundtracks. “Musical film soundtracks” are used in movies with many songs. In musical films, the characters spend more time singing and dancing than they do speaking with each other. A “film score” is more common and is the soundtrack for a normal movie in which the characters speak and act while “background music” (music that is heard, but is not the main focus of something) is playing. An “original film score” is a set of music “composed” (written, when talking about music) specifically for that movie.

Other soundtracks are made by “piecing together” (combining in a new way) popular music, such as songs that are heard on the radio. These types of “compilation” (made from many different pieces) soundtracks are popular in “period movies” (movies taking place in an earlier time). For example, a film about the 1950s might have a soundtrack with many songs that were recorded at that time.

“Video game soundtracks” have all the sounds that are heard while playing a video game. These soundtracks include not only the music from the game but also the “sound effects” (sounds that enhance or improve what one is seeing, making it seem more real), such as the sound of two items hitting each other.

Finally, some soundtracks have music and “dialogue” (conversations between characters) from the movie. With these soundtracks, people can almost “replay” (watch something again) the movies “in their mind” (in one’s imagination) as they listen.