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Roy Orbison

Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988), nicknamed “The Big O”, was an influential American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll, whose recording career spanned more than four decades. With a smooth tenor voice capable of crossing three octaves and hitting a power falsetto, Orbison sung ballads of love and loneliness beneath his signature black sunglasses.

Orbison began working with music from a very young age, and achieved commercial success with "Ooby Dooby" at the age of 20. However, the rockabilly genre failed to further the musician's career ...read more

Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988), nicknamed “The Big O”, was an influential American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll, whose recording career spanned more than four decades. With a smooth tenor voice capable of crossing three octaves and hitting a power falsetto, Orbison sung ballads of love and loneliness beneath his signature black sunglasses.

Orbison began working with music from a very young age, and achieved commercial success with "Ooby Dooby" at the age of 20. However, the rockabilly genre failed to further the musician's career. In 1957, Orbison worked with songwriter Joe Melson to create the dramatic rock ballad, a blend of sound still unheard of in rock and roll. This new direction produced hits such as "Only the Lonely", "Runnin' Scared" and "Oh, Pretty Woman". This period of success saw him tour with groups such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.

A decline in his career occurred in the 1970s, even forcing Orbison to dabble in country and disco music to reach a new audience. The following decade saw a resurgence as Orbison teamed with Emmylou Harris for a duet, "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again", which won the 1981 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Bruce Springsteen making the induction speech. Use of his songs in films such as David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" and the 1990 rom-com "Pretty Woman" further enhanced Orbison's staying power.

Around the end of the 1980s, Orbison teamed up with Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra),Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty to form a supergroup, the Traveling Wilburys. 1989 also saw the release of Orbison's last studio album, "Mystery Girl", which managed to reach no. 5 on the Billboard 200 and launched the hit "You Got It".

Orbison died on 6, December 1988, from a massive heart attack, aged 52. A tribute from Tom Waits summed up Orbison's influence: "When you were trying to make a girl fall in love with you, it took roses, the Ferris wheel and Roy Orbison.” « hide

Similar Bands: Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Traveling Wilburys

Black & White Night
1998

4.3
12 Votes
King of Hearts
1992

4
2 Votes
Mystery Girl
1989

3.7
15 Votes
Laminar Flow
1979

3
1 Votes
All-Time Greatest Hits
1977

4.3
6 Votes
Regeneration
1977

I'm Still in Love With You
1974

Milestones
1973

Memphis
1972

Roy Orbison Sings
1972

Hank Williams the Roy Orbison Way
1971

The Big O
1970

Roy Orbison's Many Moods
1969

Cry Softly Lonely One
1967

Roy Orbison Sings Don Gibson
1967

The Classic Roy Orbison
1966

The Orbison Way
1966

There Is Only One Roy Orbison
1965

Orbisongs
1965

4
1 Votes
In Dreams
1963

4.2
10 Votes
Crying
1962

4
8 Votes
Lonely and Blue
1961

3.9
4 Votes
Roy Orbison at the Rock House
1961

3.5
2 Votes

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