The fires of love, hate, kindness, despair, honest and compassion explode at you from a cd, cassette or plain old hunk of vinyl. Every emotion felt, every experience ever lived flows through a pair of speakers as you struggle to relive old memories. Yes, the man who taught the world how to feel, to care and most of all, how to enjoy a song created from the heart is holding class once again...Roy Orbison is on the radio.
Roy Orbison’s musical career stretches all the way back to his days at North Texas State University where he met none other than Pat Boone. Boone suggested that Orbison wrote songs which were more commercial in nature and the bespectacled rocker complied. Success soon followed when country star Johnny Cash heart some of Orbison’s songs and passed them on to Sun Records’ Sam Phillips. “Ooby Dooby” became the first hit in what has become one of the most celebrated careers in rock and roll music history.
It’s my sincere belief that Roy Orbison will go down in the rock and roll annals as one of the most prolific story tellers and songwriters of all time. Every song was a little novel with the proper words, drama and resolution capturing the interest and attention of every listener. The finest examples of these “novelette” songs include “Only The Lonely,” “Crying,” “It’s Over,” “The Actress,” “Running Scared,” “Leah,” “Oh Pretty Woman,” “Blue Angel,” “Mean Women Blues,” the beautiful Christmas song “Pretty Papers,” “I’m Hurting,” “Blue Bayou” and that great album he did with the Traveling Wilburys which included the hit “Anything You Want.”
Elvis Presley once said, “My friend Roy Orbison is the best singer I’ve ever heard” and many other artists have echoed his thoughts since then! The Orbison vocal range could cover a thundering baritone or a sensitive tenor and then mix it with a consistent tremolo to create pure musical magic.
Now I ask you: How can a singer become so popular when he only appeared in one movie (in a son-singing role), very rarely received national television exposure, always dressed in a rather drab black outfit with dark sunglasses, and didn’t even make the scandal sheets? The answer is very simple: You don’t need an agent to scream how good you are or to make up stories in an effort to increase your record sales. You need only possess that one magic ingredient- talent- and Roy Orbison had plenty of it.
Though he felt great pain in his personal life (His wife Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident and two years later, tow of his three children died in a house fire while he was on tour in England), Orbison never allowed silence to rob the world of his great gift. Roy “The Boy” continued recording with Tom Petty, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne as part of The Traveling Wilbury’s until 1989 when he was stuck down by a sudden heart attack.
But even today, “The Voice” that told a thousand stories always lifts my spirits even in my darkest hours, chasing away all loneliness and despair and providing solace when I need it most. Roy Orbison created some great music, music that will love on and endure forever...give some of his older tunes a listen some time- I assure you that you’ll enjoy what you hear.