Top of Free Internet Radio content area

Roy Orbison

 

 

Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988), also known by the nickname the Big O, was an American singer-songwriter, best known for his trademark sunglasses, distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly/country and western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success came with Monument Records between 1960 and 1964, when 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top 40, including "Only the Lonely", "Crying", and "Oh, Pretty Woman". His career stagnated through the 1970s, but was revived by several covers of his songs and the use of "In Dreams" in David Lynch's film Blue Velvet (1986).

In 1988, he joined the Traveling Wilburys supergroup with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne and also released a new solo album. He died of a heart attack in December that year, at the zenith of his resurgence. His life was marred by tragedy, including the death of his first wife and his two eldest sons in separate accidents.


Two common misconceptions about his appearance stubbornly continue to surface about Orbison: one, that he was an albino, and two, that he wore his trademark dark glasses because he was blind or nearly so. Neither is correct, although his poor vision required him to wear thick corrective lenses (He suffered from childhood from a combination of hyperopia, severe astigmatism, presbyopia, anisometropia, and strabismus). Orbison’s trademark sunglasses were a fashion statement arising from an accident early in his career. Due to go onstage in a few minutes, Orbison left his regular glasses in an airplane. Unable to see without corrective lenses, the only other pair of glasses he had available were darkly tinted prescription sunglasses. “I had to see to get onstage,” so he wore the glasses throughout his tour with the Beatles, and he carried on with it for the rest of his professional career. “I’ll just do this and look cool.”


Orbison's vocal instrument bridged the gap between baritone and tenor, and music scholars have suggested that he had a three- or four-octave range. The combination of Orbison's powerful, impassioned voice and complex musical arrangements led many critics to refer to his music as operatic, giving him the sobriquet "the Caruso of Rock". Elvis Presley as well as Petty and Dylan, have stated his voice was, respectively, the greatest and most distinctive they had ever heard. While most male performers in rock and roll in the 1950s and '60s projected a defiant masculinity, many of Orbison's songs instead conveyed a quiet, desperate vulnerability. He was known for performing while standing still and solitary and for wearing black clothes and dark sunglasses, which lent an air of mystery to his persona.

Orbison was initiated into the second class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 by longtime admirer Bruce Springsteen. The same year he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame two years later. Rolling Stone placed Orbison at number 37 on their list of The Greatest Artists of All Time, and number 13 on their list of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. In 2002, Billboard magazine listed Orbison at number 74 in the Top 600 recording artists.[5] In 2014, Orbison was elected to America's Pop Music Hall of Fame.

He was a huge influence on many artists, including John Lennon, Mick Jagger, and Tom Petty.
Roy died of heart failure at his mother's house in Hendersonville, TN on December 6th, 1988. He was visiting family for the holidays while on break from the road.
Many people assumed Roy was going blind, but he was anything but. His trademark dark glasses he began wearing in 1963, just before a British tour with The Beatles.
His wife was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1966. Two years later, 2 of his sons died in a fire.
Elvis Presley and The Beatles both opened shows for Orbison early in their careers.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
Along with Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison, Orbison was a member of The Traveling Wilburys.
Roy's first American hit single was recorded in 1956 for Sam Philips' Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Entitled "Ooby Dooby," it eventually made it into the Top 60 in 1956.
Orbison's hair was never naturally black. He merely dyed it that color to fit into his "Man In Black" image. Roy's hair was actually dark brown.
The "Roy Orbison Club," managed from her home in Harold Hill near Romford, Essex, UK, by Maggie Finch, ran from 1963 to 1978, the year of Maggie's husbands' death.
Roy Orbison was a keen painter and made model aircraft to competition level. One of the last things he did on the day he died was fly his model airplanes.

 

50s, 60s Hits

Crying
Dream Baby
Only The Lonely
Pretty Woman
Running Scared

Holiday

Pretty Paper

Members of this Group


map51

Oilersrule

FatalDrakkon

Madis

DIAMONDFOX

KARYN

Bill Jackson

WhopperWCheese

jitterbrains_05

Comments

There are currently no comments.
Share Roy Orbison! Tell your friends about Roy Orbison on 977music - share the joy of on-demand artist playlists!

Albums