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Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison

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The remarkable canon of work recorded by Roy Orbison is tied not to any one decade but virtually to the entire lifespan of rock 'n roll. He began his career in the '50's, a friend and contemporary of Elvis Presley; he shared billings in Britain with The Beatles in the '60's; saw his work covered by the likes of Linda Ronstadt in the '70's; watched as his classic "In Dreams" became a keystone of David Lynch's film Blue Velvet. His posthumous album "Mystery Girl" - became the biggest selling album of his illustrious career.

Roy Orbison remains as one of rock's truly legendary figures: a consistent talent whose influence grows with each passing year. His is a combination of voice and songs that, harnessed together, unleash a rare power which grabs listeners by the heart and holds them forever enthralled.

Orbison's was a special talent no better acknowledged than by Bruce Springsteen when inducting Roy into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987.

"In 1975, when I went in to the studio to make Born To Run, I wanted to make a record with words like Bob Dylan that sounded like Phil Spector. But, most of all, I wanted to sing like Roy Orbison."

Born Roy Kelton Orbison on April 23rd 1936, he grew up in the heart of the Texas oil fields. He began playing and singing with local bands - his first was with The Wink Westerners.Roy moved on to The Teen Kings who - at Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico - recorded a single which was only released locally. Acting on Johnny Cash's advice, Roy sent a copy of the song - "Ooby Dooby" - to Sun Records' founder Sam Phillips. Phillips liked what he heard, Roy drove to Memphis, and by June 1956 Sun had released its first Roy Orbison hit single.

Roy's time at Sun was not, however, particularly happy. Only his debut single - the recut version of Ooby Dooby - made any kind of chart impression. Other Sun cuts - "Sweet and Easy To Love", "Chicken Hearted" and "Rock House" - were upbeat and went against the grain. Years later, Orbison recalled his earliest meetings with Sam Phillips who had played him some previously recorded Sun singles.

"He wasn't talking my language. I wasn't sophisticated but I was university educated. And, when he brought out the first record (Arthur Crudup's That's Alright) and the second (Mystery Train) he said, 'now sing like that.' If he'd have said 'sing with the same emotion, the same feeling in everything that you do that this man is doing' then I would have said 'I understand exactly what you mean.' But, I didn't understand what he meant, I didn't know what he was getting at. I couldn't sing like that. I had already been in the business a good while and I was patterned in my own way."


From Roy Orbison's Official Website.

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