Hello, Roy Orbison was born on April 23, 1936 in Vernon, Texas. His outstanding voice is one of the greatest of the rock era. He was both a successful singer and songwriter. In 1956 he charted his first hit record as Roy Orbison and Teen Kings with the hit OOBY DOOBY on Sun Records. The single charted at #59 on the Billboard Top 100.
Roy would not be back on the Billboard chart until January 18, 1960 with UP TOWN on his new label Monument Records. The single only reached #72 and then dropped off the chart. In June he was back on the Billboard Hot 100 with a new hit and this one would begin a career that would include 31 Hot 100 hits. That song was ONLY THE LONELY (Know The Way I Feel). The song was written by Roy and Joe Melson. The single climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and to #14 on the Billboard R&B chart. ONLY THE LONELY charted at #1 on the UK Singles Chart. This would be just the beginning of the big hits to follow. Roy would follow-up with BLUE ANGEL again showcasing his operatic voice. The single became a #9 hit on the Hot 100. He would close out 1960 with I’M HURTIN’ a more up tempo tune than his previous hits, it would climb to #27.
In April of 1961 Roy charted RUNNING SCARED another smash hit written by Roy and Joe Melson. The single shot right to the top of the Hot 100, becoming Roy Orbison’s first #1 hit record. The single became another big hit on the UK Singles Chart as it became a #9 hit record. In Australia RUNNING SCARED and its flip side LOVE HURTS became #5 hits in that country. Nazareth would have a world-wide hit with LOVE HURTS in 1975. One classic is followed by another and in August of 1961 CRYING becomes another huge record. The single climbed the Hot 100 all the way to #2 and on the Cashbox magazine chart CRYING becomes the #1 song. The same songwriting team of Roy Orbison and Joe Melson wrote this all time great tune. The flip side of CRYING is the up tempo CANDYMAN a #25 hit on the Hot 100.
The new year, 1962 finds Roy back on the charts in February with another big hit DREAM BABY a semi rocker that he carries all the way to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. He would be back in the Top 10 in 1963 with another of his operatic ballads, IN DREAMS. The single released in February became a #7 hit on the Hot 100 and would become the title track on his album IN DREAMS, released in July of 1963. Roy also toured England in 1963 and shared billing with a new group The Beatles. In September he would release another single that would become a Hot 100, Top 10 hit MEAN WOMAN BLUES. The record would chart at #5 and be one of his rockin’ best up tempo hits. The flip side is BLUE BAYOU a classic Roy Orbison recording that would chart at #29 and become an even bigger hit for Linda Ronstadt (#3) in 1977.
In April of 1964 his first hit of the year would be IT’S OVER another operatic ballad that would become a #9 hit on the Hot 100. In August, the song that is forever tied to Roy Orbison is released. OH, PRETTY WOMAN and it became a world-wide gold record. The single charted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and held the top spot for 3 weeks. OH, PRETTY WOMAN became Roy’s third #1 single record in the UK. The other two were, ONLY THE LONELY in 1960 and IT’S OVER earlier in 1964.
Roy Orbison would not have another Billboard Hot 100, Top 10 hit until January of 1989, with his recording of YOU GOT IT charting at #9. Roy Orbison died in December of 1988 at the age of 52. His life was short, but the music he left behind for the world to enjoy is long…Elvis Presley once said that Roy Orbison had the greatest voice he had ever heard…few can argue with that…He is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member and one of the greatest hit makers ever…his classic hits are a special part of the, GOLDEN ERA OF ROCK AND ROLL.
Till the next time—Joe