Pop idol Gareth wins backing of veteran crooner

Pop Idol finalist Gareth Gates was praised for his choice of tune today by the man who first took the record-breaking song to the top of the charts, Jimmy Young.

Pop Idol finalist Gareth Gates was praised for his choice of tune today by the man who first took the record-breaking song to the top of the charts, Jimmy Young.

Gareth has recorded a version of Unchained Melody after stunning viewers of the TV talent show with his rendition of the song.

The track was given its radio premiere yesterday as contest rival Will Young hit number one with the fastest selling debut single of all time Anything Is Possible/Evergreen.

Unchained Melody is the only song to have been taken to number one by three different acts - and it is tipped to make it a fourth time when Gareth releases it on March 18.

Sir Jimmy was the first star to take the song to the top of the charts during his career as a crooner, before finding success as a broadcaster.

And the BBC Radio 2 presenter hailed the song today, saying of Gareth’s choice: ‘‘He obviously knows a good song when he sees one.’’

The track has subsequently been taken to number on by the Righteous Brothers and Robson And Jerome, the latter provoking a sales frenzy similar to that sparked by Will Young’s release last week.

The pair - Robson Green and Jerome Flynn - sang it on their TV series Soldier, Soldier and were given a record deal on the strength of their performance.

Unchained Melody was originally written for the 1955 movie Unchained by Hy Zaret and Alex North starring Elroy ‘‘Crazy Legs’’ Hirsch and Barbara Hale. Baritone Todd Duncan, famed for his role in Porgy and Bess, sang it in the film.

Many acts clamoured to record it and it was a hit for four acts in the UK that year with Sir Jimmy the only one to top the charts.

The Righteous Brothers failed to make it past number 14 when they first issued the song in 1965. But it topped the charts 15 years later after it featured in the soundtrack to the Patrick Swayze movie Ghost.

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