Roy Orbison - The Glory Years

Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician known for his impassioned singing style, complex song structures, and dark, emotional ballads. His music was described by critics as operatic, earning him the nicknames "the Caruso of Rock" and "the Big O". Many of Orbison's songs conveyed vulnerability at a time when most male rock-and-roll performers chose to project defiant masculinity. He performed while standing motionless and wearing black clothes to match his dyed black hair and dark sunglasses, which he wore to counter his shyness and stage fright.

 

Born in Texas, Orbison began singing in a rockabilly and country-and-western band as a teenager. He was signed by Sam Phillips of Sun Records in 1956, but enjoyed his greatest success with Monument Records. From 1960 to 1966, 22 of Orbison's singles reached the Billboard Top 40. He wrote or co-wrote almost all of his own Top 10 hits, including "Only the Lonely" (1960), "Running Scared" (1961), "Crying" (1961), "In Dreams" (1963), and "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964).

 

After the mid-1960s, Orbison suffered a number of personal tragedies and his career faltered. He experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s following the success of several cover versions of his songs. In 1988, he co-founded the Traveling Wilburys (a rock supergroup) with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. Orbison died of a heart attack in December 1988 at age 52. One month later, his song "You Got It" (1989) was released as a solo single, becoming his first hit to reach the US & UK Top 10 in nearly 25 years.

Roy Orbison - The Glory Years

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