10/5/17: Roy Orbison “A Love So Beautiful”
Roy Orbison is the voice I’m hearing in my head today. That amazing, operatic voice! The guy was known for a long time as a rockabilly singer, which fits pretty well seeing as he came out of Texas at the height of that musical era and recorded at Sun Records – the same label that got Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and other greats their start. Roy was later signed by Monument Records, and that’s where he had a huge string of hits in the early ‘60s. I mean, the guy was incredibly successful, charting 22 Top 40 songs by Billboard’s accounting.
You know a lot of those songs, too. “Running Scared,” “Crying,” “In Dreams”… a lot of them started really slowly and quietly, building until they came to a big, dramatic, crashing crescendo at the end. Orbison’s voice is often described as “operatic,” and that’s exactly the truth. He could have been an opera singer if he had wanted to be, but I’m sure glad he took the route he did!
In 1963, he was recruited to be part of a tour of the UK, along with the Beatles and some other associated acts. When he got over there, he realized that The Beatles were going to be bigger than just about anything that came before them, even though they hadn’t hit it big stateside just yet. The Beatles felt the same way about Roy, John Lennon in particular was extremely impressed. Here was this quiet, shy guy in black clothes, dark hair and sunglasses, just standing on stage completely motionless and hitting all kinds of crazy high notes. Roy went for encore after encore, and I guess that if it had been anybody else but The Beatles following his act, he would have completely stolen the show.
Roy’s voice was always so dramatic – just like his delivery and pretty much everything about him. He wasn’t quite the cocky and macho type that so often presents as the “rock star type,” and people loved him for it. His music was, on occasion, tragic. It reflected the tragedy he suffered in his own life. Later in his career, he renewed his friendship with George Harrison… which led them both to getting together with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty to form the group that got me thinking about Roy in the first place: The Travelling Wilburys. An amazing collaboration. The whole band stood in awe when it was time for one of Roy’s solos. I watched “The True History of the Travelling Wilburys” last night, and was struck by how all those superstar musicians put Orbison on a pedestal. With an array of talent like that, it’s amazing to think how much they admired him as both a fellow artist and as a man.
Roy had a heart attack and died in 1988. After he passed, his record company released an album Roy had been working on called “Mystery Girl.” I think it was some of his finest work, and the song in my head today is “A Love So Beautiful.” Here’s the late, great Roy Orbison. Get ready to be blown away.
To read and listen to all of Ron’s Music in My Head entries, click here!
After playing a show at The Cat’s Cradle in July and at Local 506 in August, and The Carrboro Music Festival in September; the School of Rock students’ next public performance will be Sunday, October 29th on the Southern Village Green!
The School of Rock Chapel Hill is a music school for kids of all ages located in the 501 Diner location on Fordham Blvd in front of Eastgate Crossing.
Locally owned, locally operated, locally staffed, locally sourced instruments, and locally built!
You are invited to stop in for a tour or schedule a free demo session. Their hours are Monday-Thursday 3PM-9PM and Saturday 10AM-4PM!
Learn how to play a real rock and roll song in just 30 minutes!
AND, through a partnership with the Public School Foundation; they’ll donate 1% of their gross revenue to support music in the local public schools, so help bring music to our community and enroll today!
Sign-up at chapelhill.schoolofrock.com, or call 919-338-1011.
Open for Rocking!
‘Music in My Head’ airs every morning @9:15AM. Over the air on 97.9FM and streaming on chapelboro.com