Roy Orbison

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer

Category: Performer

Inducted in: 1987

Inducted by: Bruce Springsteen

Nominated in: 1986   1987

First Eligible: 1986 Ceremony


Inducted into Rock Hall Revisited in 1987 (ranked #49) .


Essential Songs (?)WikipediaAmazon MP3YouTube
Only The Lonely (1959)
Crying (1961)
In Dreams (1963)
Oh, Pretty Woman (1964)
You Got It (1989)

Roy Orbison @ Wikipedia

Roy Orbison Videos

Comments

9 comments so far (post your own)

One of a kind.

Posted by Cheesecrop on Tuesday, 10.28.08 @ 19:09pm


I totally agree with Cheescrop, but how could he have been nominated in 1986 if his first year of eligiblity was in 1987?

Posted by Gassman on Wednesday, 07.15.09 @ 21:03pm


He was eligible in 1986. His first hit record was 1956's "Ooby Dooby" with the Teen Kings... credited as Roy Orbison And The Teen Kings. And "Only The Lonely" was from 1960, his first Top 40 hit as a soloist.

Posted by Philip on Saturday, 08.1.09 @ 21:08pm


Although Roy Orbison shared the same rockailly roots as Carl Prkins and Elvis Presley, he created an entirely new brand of country based rock and roll in the early 60s. While he didn't have the charisma and looks of Elvis, he made up for it with his quavering voice and narratives of unrequited love and yearning and in the process, Roy set the standard archetypes of the underdog and the romantic loser. These archetypes not only amplified by fellow singers like Del Shannon, but also influenced later rockers like Chris Isaak and Elvis Costello, but the perfomer who Orbison influenced was Bruce Springteen.

Lastly, my favorite Roy Orbison song is "Pettty Women".

Posted by Andrew on Saturday, 10.20.12 @ 23:16pm



Although Roy Orbison shares the same roots as Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, He went on to create a different form of country based rock in the early 60s. While he lacked charisma and looks, Roy made up for in his quavering voice. He also possessed one of the greatest singing voices in all of rock n' roll: a forceful, operatic tenor capable of producing dynamic climaxes.

Roy sang both heartbroken ballads and bluesy rock songs, running up a high streak of hits in the early 60s. From "Only The Lonely" to "Oh! Petty Woman," Orbison hit the Top Ten nine times. His most memorable performances were lovesick ballads like "Crying" and "It's Over," in which he exaggerated in a tremulous voice.

Orbison once said that "I always love my voice." "I like the sound of it. I like making it sing, making it ring, and I just keep on doing it. I think that it was the time between 'Ooby Dooby' and 'Only The Lonely,' that it turned into a great voice."

The sad intensity in Roy's voice had an extended effect on all who listened to his music, but especially heartbroken teens who understood how unanswered love and loneliness felt like. However, while these songs were aimed at the teen market, there is nothing obvious about Roy's songs on a musical level.

Avoiding typical songwriting, Orbison wrote melodramas that showed themselves in unconventional ways. For example, "It's Over," sounds more like a classical Spanish dance number then a rock song. Orbison has been comparded to Verdi, althrough the most appropriate comparison would be comparing him to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound.

The archetypes that Orbison started would not only be amplified by fellow singers like Del Shannon, but also influenced the next generation of roots rockers from Elvis Costello to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.

Posted by Andrew on Saturday, 08.17.13 @ 20:34pm


If I were to pick the presenters for the 1987 Rock N' Roll Hal Fame inductees, they would be:

James Brown for The Coasters
Joan Jett for Eddie Cochran
John Fogerty for Bo Diddley
Whitney Houston for Aretha Franklin
Lionel Richie for Marvin Gaye
Paul Anka for Bill Haley
Eric Clapton for B.B. King
Al Green for Clyde McPhatter
Chris Isaak for Ricky Nelson
Bruce Springsteen for Roy Orbison
George Harrison for Carl Perkins
Daryl Hall and John Oates for Smokey Robinson
Chuck Berry for Big Joe Turner
Paul Butterfield for Muddy Waters
Stevie Wonder for Jackie Wilson

Stevie Ray Vaughan for T-Bone Walker
Fats Domino for Louis Jordan
Lyle Lovett for Hank Williams

Etta James for Leonard Chess
Ray Charles for Ahmet Ertegun
Dion inducting Jerry Liber & Mike Stoller
Solomon Burke for Jerry Wexler

Posted by Andrew on Tuesday, 01.7.14 @ 21:37pm


Although he shared the same rockabilly roots as Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison went on to pioneer a different brand of country-based rock & roll in the early 60s. While he lacked the charisma and the good looks of Elvis, Roy more then made up for it with his quavering voice and melodramatic narratives of unanswered love.

He also possessed one of the finest rock n' roll singing voices: a forceful, operatic tenor capable of producing dynamic climaxes. He could sing both heartbroken ballads and bluesy rock songs with ease, running up a formidable hit parade in the early 60s.

From the release of "Only The Lonely" in 1960 to "Oh, Pretty Woman" in 1964, Roy cracked the Top Ten nine times. His most memorable performances were lovesick melodramas like "Crying," and "It's Over," in which he sang in a gloomy, shy voice.

Orbison once said that "I've always been in love with my voice. I liked the sound of it. I like making it sing, making the voice ring and I just kept doing it. I think it was somewhere between 'Ooby Dooby' and 'Only the Lonely,' it turned into a great voice."

The melancholic intensity in his voice reverberated with all who listened to his music, but especially with heartsick teenagers who knew how unanswered love and loneliness felt like. However, while these songs were aimed at teens, there is nothing simple or clear about Roy's songs on a musical level.

Turning his back on typical songwriting, Orbison wrote melodramas that unfolded in alternative ways. For example, “It’s Over” sounds more like a Spanish dance than a rock tune. Orbison has often been compared to Verdi or Puccini, but a more appropriate comparison could be with Phil Spector's symphonic "Wall of Sound."

A native Texan, Roy Orbison was born on April 23rd, 1936. He was given his first guitar at age 6 and started singing on local radio shows by age 8.

Upon hearing Elvis Presley's "That's All Right” in a jukebox that turned his ears towards rockabilly and he fronted a high school group called The Teen Kings and they recorded a song called "Ooby Dooby." The song then landed in the hands of Sun Records owner Sam Philips. After Roy re-recorded the song at Sun, it became a minor hit, but his time at Sun was brief as he moved to Nashville's Monument label in 1960.

While there, he perfected the formal yet emotionally unrestrained style that would carry him through a string of great songs starting with "Only the Lonely Know The Way I Feel." which hit Number two on the Billboard charts.

The song established the Roy Orbison personality: a gloomy singer of failed love with a sweet melody, enhanced by his Caruso-like vocal quaver at the song's emotional climax.

For five years, Roy would have 15 Top 40 hits, including such nail-bating melodrama songs as "Running Scared," "Dream Baby," "Crying," and "Blue Angel," but Orbison was capable of showing a bluesy strut on songs like "Candy Man," and "Mean Woman Blues."

A major star in Britain as well as America, Roy toured with The Beatles in 1963 during which he started wearing his trademark dark sunglasses. The next year was Roy’s biggest year as “Oh, Pretty Woman” soared to Number 1 on the charts at the height of Beatlemania. The success of the song and the flop of its follow-up singles promoted Orbison to move to MGM Records.

He did record effectively for his new label, but he never recaptured the magic he had before. During this time, there were some fantastic albums, but the hits stopped coming almost entirely and Orbison faded out of the limelight only to make a comeback in the 80s when he joined the supergroup, The Traveling Wilburys whose debut album Volume One sold three million copies in the U.S. alone.

Roy made a comeback with “Mystery Girl” before dying from a heart attack in December of 1988.

Tom Waits say it best: "When you were trying to make a girl love you, it took roses, the Farris Wheel and Roy Orbison."

The archetypes that Orbison started would not only be amplified by fellow singers like Del Shannon, but also influenced the next generation of roots rockers from Elvis Costello to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.

While the only Roy Orbison song that I've ever listened to is "Oh, Pretty Woman," it still never fails to get me in a good mode whenever it comes on the radio.

Posted by Andrew on Tuesday, 04.15.14 @ 00:01am


Nice writeup, Andrew. It was sad that Roy died just as he was being re-introduced to America thru the Traveling Wilburys.

Posted by Paul in KY on Tuesday, 04.15.14 @ 07:17am


Leave your comment:

Name:

Email:

Comments:


Security Question:

Which letter is Springsteen's band named after?
 

Note: Emails will not be visible or used in any way, but are required. Please keep comments relevant to the topic. Any content deemed inappropriate or offensive may be edited and/or deleted.

No HTML code is allowed.




This site is not affiliated with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.