My Legends of Pop Music – Part Seven – Roy Orbison
If I get this right, there will be many cover versions by future bands. I shall try and link live versions if they exist from the tellybox or a film, the sound quality may not be the best, but there is nothing like watching a real talent live.
So, in a sort of chronological order, my seventh legend is Roy Orbison
Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician known for his impassioned singing style, complex song structures, and dark, emotional ballads. His music was described by critics as operatic, earning him the nicknames “the Caruso of Rock” and “the Big O”. Many of Orbison’s songs conveyed vulnerability at a time when most male rock-and-roll performers chose to project defiant masculinity. He performed while standing motionless and wearing black clothes to match his dyed black hair and dark sunglasses, which he wore to counter his shyness and stage fright.
Born in Texas, Orbison began singing in a rockabilly and country-and-western band as a teenager. He was signed by Sam Phillips of Sun Records in 1956, but enjoyed his greatest success with Monument Records. From 1960 to 1966, 22 of Orbison’s singles reached the Billboard Top 40. He wrote or co-wrote almost all of his own Top 10 hits, including “Only the Lonely” (1960), “Running Scared” (1961), “Crying” (1961), “In Dreams” (1963), and “Oh, Pretty Woman” (1964).
After the mid-1960s, Orbison suffered a number of personal tragedies and his career faltered. He experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s following the success of several cover versions of his songs. In 1988, he co-founded the Traveling Wilburys (a rock supergroup) with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. Orbison died of a heart attack in December 1988 at age 52. One month later, his song “You Got It” (1989) was released as a solo single, becoming his first hit to reach the US & UK Top 10 in nearly 25 years.
Orbison’s honours include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989, and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2014. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and five other Grammy Awards. Rolling Stone placed him at number 37 on its list of the “Greatest Artists of All Time” and number 13 on its list of the “100 Greatest Singers of All Time”. In 2002, Billboard magazine listed him at number 74 on its list of the Top 600 recording artists.
Roy has always been a firm favourite of mine, I do recall being very young, maybe 5 or 6 and hearing his stuff on the radio.
The featured track is “Only the Lonely” from a live TV show
A full list of his songs is here: Discography – Roy Orbison
Crying – Live from 1965
Dream Baby – 1965 concert
In Dreams – In concert in 1982, colour!
Blue Bayou – Live in 1972
It’s over – HD in colour from 1964
Oh, Pretty Woman – Live 1988
You Got It – Live 2014
Travelling Wilburies – End of the Line – 2016
Singalong, enjoy and be happy!
Featured Image: “File:Los Angeles (California, USA), Hollywood Boulevard, Roy Orbison — 2012 — 4988.jpg” by Dietmar Rabich is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
© Phil the ex test manager 2021