Baritone/music teacher and actor Todd Duncan played the original Porgy in "Porgy and Bess" in 1935 and was the first to sing the untitled song in the motion picture "Unchained" in which he had a small part and that's how it got the title "Unchained Melody" (North-Zaret) in 1955. The song, called one of the greatest of all time, was nominated for an Oscar.

Before going solo and blind from birth Al Hibbler sang with the Duke Ellington and the Count Basie Orchestras. His 1955 version of "Unchained Melody" sold over a million copies as it hit the top five on Billboard.

Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield were The Righteous Brothers. In 1965 they hit the top five with Phil Spector's production of "Unchained Melody". In 1990 the movie "Ghost" was released featuring a re-recording of "Unchained Melody", this time it went to the top twenty.