Medley was born in Los Angeles. He met his singing partner Bobby Hatfield while attending California State University, Long Beach.
In 1962, while performing in Los Angeles as part of a five-member group called The Paramours, a marine in the audience shouted out, "That was righteous, brothers!" prompting Medley, and fellow member, the late Bobby Hatfield decided to form a duo using that name.
Their first single was "Little Latin Lupe Lu," their first hit was "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin,'" produced by Phil Spector in 1964. Follow-up hits included "Ebb Tide," "You're My) Soul and Inspiration" and "Unchained Melody."
(#1 in US - 1964)
The duo broke up in 1968, and Medley's continued singing with Virgil Beckham singing Bobby Hatfield's part.
Medley also had a successful solo career. In 1968, he released "Peace, Brother, Peace" and "Brown Eyed Woman" both of which were Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. He also released several solo albums during the 1970s and 1980s.
In 1984 and 1985, he charted 5 singles on the country charts with the biggest of these being the Top 20 country hit, "I Still Do". In 1987 his duet with Jennifer Warnes, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," was included on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack album and the single reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The song also won a 1988 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Medley and Hatfield reunited and scored another hit in 1974, "Rock And Roll Heaven." They continued to appear together until Hatfield's death in November 2003.
The Righteous Brothers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2003.