February 26, 1966
Pop, rock and roll, blue-eyed soul
"(You're My) Soul And Inspiration" was the first major hit for the American pop duo The Righteous Brothers after leaving their long-standing producer Phil Spector. The song was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who also wrote (with Spector) their first hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'". It is the title track of their album. The single peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and reached No. 15 on the UK Singles Chart. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 3 single for 1966.
The song was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil who were part of the legendary Brill Building pop machine in New York City. They first started writing it following the success of the Righteous Brothers' first single with Phil Spector, "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", a song they also wrote. However, the song was not completed as they thought it sounded too much like "Lovin' Feelin", and Spector chose instead to record Carole King and Gerry Goffin's "Just Once in My Life" with the duo as their second single.
After leaving Spector's Philles Records in late 1965, the Righteous Brothers moved to the mostly jazz-oriented Verve label. Bill Medley of the Righteous Brothers then made inquiry to Mann about the incomplete "Soul and Inspiration" that the songwriters had previously played to Medley when they first started writing it, and asked them to complete the song. Mann and Weil complied with the wishes of Medley, and the Righteous Brothers then recorded the finished song.
The song was arranged by Jack Nitzsche who arranged many of Phil Spector's song, and Medley produced the song in style not different from the sound of the group's early hits with Spector. Medley was able to imitate Spector's "Wall of Sound" technique with reverbing pop-orchestration and soaring female back-up choir. Some of the session musicians from The Wrecking Crew, such as the keyboard player Don Randi and bassist Jimmy Bond, were hired for the recording. Other musicians on this record included Art Munson on guitar, Michael Patterson on piano, Drew Johnson on drums, Bill Baker who also arranged the song on sax, Dick Shearer on trombone, and Bill King, Sanford Skinner and Bob Faust on trumpet. The song used a string section as well and has a spoken section by Bobby Hatfield in the bridge of the song.
The song was released in February 26, 1966, and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and stayed at the top for three weeks. This was, however, the end of the group's peak in popularity. Although they entered the charts with their next single, the religiously-oriented "He" (No. 18 US), before briefly splitting in 1968, they did not enter the top-10 again until reuniting in 1974 with "Rock and Roll Heaven", an ode to deceased music artists.
In 1969, the vocal group The Blossoms covered the tune with Righteous Brothers member Bill Medley producing.
In 1972, the reggae artist Paddy Corea covered the tune instrumentally for the UK label Trojan Records. The song is available on the 1995 cover-compilation Keep on Running.
In 1978, Donny and Marie Osmond went to No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100 with their mild pop version.
In 1990, the country music group The Oak Ridge Boys recorded a cover version for the soundtrack of the film My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys. This version peaked at #31 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts.