Music Article

Roy Orbison

(1936-1988)

Roy Orbison
Image credit: Roy Orbison: David Redferns/Redferns/Retna

Why Dylan's a fan of Roy Orbison

In Dylan's Words ''He could sound mean and nasty on one line and then sing in a falsetto voice like Frankie Valli in the next. With Roy, you didn't know if you were listening to mariachi or opera. He kept you on your toes. With him, it was all about fat and blood. He sounded like he was singing from an Olympian mountaintop and he meant business.''

Let Us Explain Though there are those who know him only for ''Pretty Woman,'' Orbison went the rockabilly route before establishing his influential role as a resonant balladeer. ''Crying'' is still a moving tear-jerker, while ''Only the Lonely'' is a reminder that it's okay to be a hopeless romantic. He could rock too, as evidenced by John Lennon's admission that he based the Beatles first hit, ''Please Please Me,'' on Orbison's singular style.

Suggested Spin Mystery Girl (Virgin, 1989), Orbison's ''comeback record,'' a rare example of an aging artist able to modernize his trademark sound without cheapening it. Sadly, Orbison couldn't celebrate his best-selling album (featuring the hit ''You Got It''), which was released months after his death.

On the Web
Official Site
Best Unofficial Site
Vote For Roy Sign a petition to the USPS for a Roy Orbison commemorative stamp
Read About Him Learn why more than half of Orbison's recorded output remains unreleased
Look At These Flip through photo galleries that reveal Orbison's yearbook portraits (apparently, he was an art editor), flyers, studio sessions, many shots of those signature glasses, and more

Originally posted Sep 16, 2005