Roy Orbison was another graduate of Sun Records (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, etc.). He came to the label in 1956 after having recorded "Ooby Dooby" with the Teen Kings for Je-Wel Records. The song was re-recorded at Sun and made the national charts. Orbison had limited recording success, but began a successful song-writing career, writing "Claudette" for the Everly Brothers in 1958. In 1959 he moved to Monument records and in 1960 had his first major hit, "Only the Lonely" which went to #2. Follow-ups to "Only the Lonely," "Blue Angel" and "I'm Hurtin'" did moderately well. In 1961, Orbison really hit it big with two major hits, "Running Scared" and "Cryin'." He consistently charted songs in the early '60's and was one of the few artists to survive the "British Invasion." Perhaps this was because he was so admired by the new group of rockers and had even toured with the Beatles in England before they made their big splash in the U.S. In 1964 he recorded his biggest hit, "Pretty Woman." Orbison was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame in 1987 and his career was again on the upswing. He had success with "The Traveling Wilburys" -- collaborating with Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, George Harrison and Bob Dylan. But he died of a heart attack in 1988 at the age of 52. A posthumous album release, "Mystery Girl" became his biggest selling album and the song "You Got It" made the top 10.
Top recordings from The Elvis ERA:
weeks on chart
Only the Lonely
Only the Lonely:
In August of 1962, Monument Records released the first Roy Orbison "Greatest Hits" LP . I purchased it that year because "Cryin'" was / is one of my all-time favorite songs. Some of the songs from the album I had never heard -- "Love Star," "Evergreen," "Uptown," "Mama." But I soon found that I liked them all. Unlike the 45's, when you put on an LP, you were pretty much committed to listening to all the cuts -- unless you wanted to sit and manually move the tone arm to skip a cut (no remote controls). You can see that the jacket for this album is pretty well worn. I played it frequently because I did like all the cuts. Roy Orbison would certainly be one of my nominees for my favorite singer of all time. In addition to "Cryin'" I also liked his version of "Blue Bayou" (which he wrote for Linda Ronstadt) and his last release "You Got It." "Handle With Care" and "End of the Line" by The Traveling Wilburys are also favorites.