Monday, March 02, 2009

Number 416 - Roy Orbison

Number 416

Roy Orbison


415 ...........Genre: Pop.............. 417
art by soiology
Roy Orbison always seemed an ungainly pop star to me, he looked awkward, with super thick chunky monkey glasses and really not someone you would have hanging as a poster on your bedroom wall when you're 14, if you know what i mean. His voice on the other hand was pure angelic, honest & openly heartfelt, you only have to listen to this song [Crying] to see what i mean. From my time period I was introduced to this song by Don McLean in 1980 and to be blunt, I enjoyed this more than the original by Orbison, but as all things in life, time let me enjoy the original more .. later in years. I still rate McLeans version, but in reality ... you cannot beat the feeling, quiver and pitch Roy Orbison had for his own song. Sorry Don ~ crowbarred
Roy Orbison
Although he shared the same rockabilly roots as Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison went on to pioneer an entirely different brand of country/pop-based rock & roll in the early '60s. What he lacked in charisma and photogenic looks, Orbison made up for in spades with his quavering operatic voice and melodramatic narratives of unrequited love and yearning. In the process, he established rock & roll archetypes of the underdog and the hopelessly romantic loser. These were not only amplified by peers such as Del Shannon and Gene Pitney, but also influenced future generations of roots rockers such as Bruce Springsteen and Chris Isaak, as well as modern country stars the Mavericks.
check out ma wheels
Orbison made his first widely distributed recordings for Sun Records in 1956. Roy was a capable rockabilly singer, and had a small national hit with his first Sun single, "Ooby Dooby." But even then, he was far more comfortable as a ballad singer than as a hepped-up rockabilly jive cat. Other Sun singles met with no success, and by the late '50s he was concentrating primarily on building a career as a songwriter, his biggest early success being "Claudette" (recorded by the Everly Brothers. Between 1960 and 1965, Orbison would have 15 Top 40 hits for Monument, including such nail-biting mini-dramas as "Running Scared," "Crying," "In Dreams," and "It's Over." Not just a singer of tear-jerking ballads, he was also capable of effecting a tough, bluesy swagger on "Dream Baby," "Candy Man," and "Mean Woman Blues." In fact, his biggest and best hit was also his hardest-rocking: "Oh, Pretty Woman" soared to number one in late 1964, at the peak of the British Invasion.
meet the beatles!
It seemed at that time that Roy was well-equipped to survive the British onslaught of the mid-'60s. He had even toured with the Beatles in Britain in 1963, and John Lennon has admitted to trying to emulate Orbison when writing the Beatles' first British chart-topper, "Please Please Me." But Orbison's fortunes declined rapidly after he left Monument for MGM in 1965. It would be easy to say that the major label couldn't replicate the unique production values of the classic Monument singles, but that's only part of the story. Roy, after all, was still writing most of his material, and his early MGM records were produced in a style that closely approximated the Monument era. The harder truth to face was that his songs were starting to sound like lesser variations of themselves, and that contemporary trends in rock and soul were making him sound outdated.
Wheres my movie about me?
Orbison, like many early rock greats, could always depend on large overseas audiences to pay the bills. The two decades between the mid-'60s and mid-'80s were undeniably tough ones for him, though, both personally and professionally. A late-'60s stab at acting failed miserably. In 1966, his wife died in a motorcycle accident; a couple of years later, his house burned down, two of his sons perishing in the flames. Periodic comeback attempts with desultory albums in the 1970s came to naught. Orbison's return to the public eye came about through unexpected circumstances. In the mid-'80s, David Lynch's Blue Velvet film prominently featured "In Dreams" on its soundtrack. That led to the singer making an entire album of re-recordings of hits, with T-Bone Burnett acting as producer. The record was no substitute for the originals, but it did help restore him to prominence within the industry. Shortly afterward, he joined George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne in the Traveling Wilburys. Their successful album set the stage for Orbison's best album in over 20 years, Mystery Girl, which emulated the sound of his classic '60s work without sounding hackneyed. By the time it reached the charts in early 1989, however, Orbison was dead, claimed by a heart attack in December 1988. ~ [Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide]
Crying ... Over who?
The song was released as a 45rpm single by Monument Records in July 1961 and went to No. 2 on the Billboard pop music charts.The song contains "a vivid combination of hurtful romantic longing combined with near operatic vocals" (Roy Orbison Biography, no date). It is remarkable in that Roy Orbison begins singing the climactic, final note slightly flat, sliding up by the end of the note to just under the correct pitch. That this was done for effect and this was confirmed in a live performance, Live at Austin City Limits, as well as on the 1987 re-recording from the album In Dreams: The Greatest Hits, on which he sang that note perfectly on key.The song also appears on Orbison's 1962 album with the title Crying and his 1989 posthumous album A Black & White Night Live from the 1988 HBO television special.
Oh, pretty woman
In 1987, Orbison rerecorded the song as a duet with k.d. lang as part of the soundtrack for the motion picture, Hiding Out. Their collaboration won the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. The duet version was a minor chart hit for the two, peaking at #42 on the Hot Country Singles chart. Rebekah Del Rio performed an a cappella Spanish language version of the song, entitled "Llorando" in the 2001 David Lynch film Mulholland Dr. The song had also previously been used on the soundtrack for the 1997 cult film Gummo, directed by Harmony Korine, in which two of the central characters even discuss the song at length. ~ [Source: Wikipedia]
Roll Call ....
For Johnny Cash see Number 624 & #705
For Elvis Presley see Number 443, #501 & #840
For Del Shannon see Number 813
For Gene Pitney see Number 885
For Bruce Springsteen see Number 817
For the Everly Brothers see Number 467
For the Beatles see Number 489, #587, #894 & #947
For John Lennon see Number 492 & #639
For George Harrison see Number 806
For Bob Dylan see Number 491, #841 & #929
For Tom Petty see Number 585
For Jeff Lynne see Number 970
For Traveling Wilburys see Number 969
What does Rolling Stone think? [do we care?]
One of the original, if not the most enthusiastic, Sun Records rockabilly artists, Roy Orbison went on to become one of the most distinctive singers in popular music. In his first peak period (1961-64), Roy Orbison vacillated between snarling blues rock and his mainstay, the romantic/paranoiac ballad with crescendoing falsetto and strings. With his twanging guitar and quavering bel canto tenor, Orbison scored a number of hits: "Only the Lonely" (Number Two, 1960), "Running Scared" (Number One, 1961), "Crying" (Number Two, 1961), "Dream Baby" (Number Four, 1962), and "Oh, Pretty Woman" (Number One, 1964). Orbison's brooding loner persona was later given resonance by the personal tragedies that befell him (his wife Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1966; two of his three children died in a fire in his Nashville home in 1968). ~ [Source: Rolling Stone]
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '416th Song of all Time' was "The Boys of Summer" by Don Henley. Don Henley has not appeared in The Definitive 1000
Other songs with reference to Roy Orbison #664, #698, #790, #839, #969
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number 69 and the Album ranked at Number (Oh God No)
This song has a total Definitive rating of 78.1 out of 108
My fave version ~ McLean nails it
Search Artist here:1-2-3-A-B-C-D-E-F-G-H-I-J-K-L-M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-T-U-V-W-X-Y-Z

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