“Unchained Melody” is a 1955 song, four versions of which were simultaneously in the US Top 40 on 14 May of that year, recorded by Les Baxter (#1), Al Hibbler (#3) , Roy Hamilton (#6), and June Valli (#29). That was an unbeaten record for any song, the first of its many renditions to chart, as it was covered by hundreds of other singers , in multiple languages.
The most enduring version is by The Righteous Brothers in July 1965 and it achieved a second round of popularity when it was featured in the 1990 blockbuster film “Ghost”.
With the help of Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and some strategically moulded clay, it became one of history’s greatest love songs, often used at wedding, to the po int that some think the word “unchained” in the title represents love chains, and the various freedoms and captivations of romantic love.
On the contrary, it derives from the fact that it was originally written for a low-budget movie “Unchained” released in 1955.
In 1954, American composer Alex North was contracted to compose the score for the film, as well as a song based upon its story. Therefore he asked lyricist Hy Zaret to write the lyrics, but this declined because he was too busy painting his house. North continued to insist and eventually managed to convince him, and together they wrote “Unchained Melody” even if Zaret refused to include the word “unchained” in his lyrics, which focus on a man who pines for a lover he has not seen for a “long, lonely time”.
The movie takes place in a medium security prison, and is centred on a convict struggling with a choice between completing his sentence and returning legitimately to his wife and family, or escaping from prison to live life on the run.
The song was written to reflect the mood of the prisoners as they wait for time to pass. The song is featured in a scene in which an inmate perches on a bed in his prison dorm and sings, accompanied only by a mournful acoustic guitar, for a group of his fellow prisoners: “Time … goes by … so slowly … and time can do … so much…”
Whoa, my love
I’ve hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time
And time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?
I need your love
I need your love
God speed your love to me
Lonely rivers flow to the sea, to the sea
To the open arms of the sea
Lonely rivers sigh, “Wait for me, wait for me
I’ll be coming home, wait for me”
Melodia liberata (dalle catene)
Ehi amore mio
ho desiderato tanto il tuo tocco
per un lungo periodo solitario
E il tempo trascorre così lentamente
e il tempo può fare così tanto
Sei ancora mia?
Ho bisogno del tuo amore
ho bisogno del tuo amore
Dio mi mandi il tuo amore
Fiumi solitari scorrono verso il mare
verso le braccia aperte del mare
i fiumi solitari sospirano: “Aspettami, aspettami
tornerò a casa, aspettami “