Only The Lonely 45 by Roy Orbison

May 2, 2012

Roy Orbison was a respected rockabilly artist with the Sun label but with little commercial success. His only chart hit was “Ooby Dooby,” which reached number 59 during 1956.

During the early 1960s he signed with the Monument label for whom he would compile one of the better catalogs of music of the decade.

His break-out hit was his second single release for the label, “Only The Lonely.” It was classic Orbison as it featured his operetic voice and lyrics of heartbreak. It first reached the chart June 6, 1960, and peaked at number two on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

“Only The Lonely” was his first hit and there were a lot more to follow.

Belinda 45 by Roy Orbison

June 14, 2011

Roy Orbison’s career came to almost a halt when he left the Monument Label during 1964. His time with the MGM label produced no big hits and his albums became less commercially successful.

With a great deal of fanfare Orbison resigned with the Monument label during 1977 and released the album, REGENERATION. It was not successful and it would be another decade before he made a true comeback.

“Belinda” was a single released from the album. It proved that his voice was still a formidable instrument but it did not receive any chart action. It remains one of many obscure Roy Orbison singles.

Bresking Up Is Breaking my Heart 45 by Roy Orbison

May 23, 2011

I still have difficulty believing that switching from the Monument label to MGM could have had such a negative effect on the career of Roy Orbison.

While with Monument, 1960-1964, he issued some of the best and commercially successful singles of the 1960’s. The summer of 1964 found his “Oh, Pretty Woman” topping the American singles chart for three weeks.

1965 found him on the MGM label. He would never have a top twenty hit for the label and it would not be until 1989 that he would have another single enter the top ten.

I can only think of two excellent MGM singles; “Ride Away” and “Cry Softly Lonely One.” “Breakin’ Up Is Breakin’ My Heart” is at least average. The issue was not his voice, which remained a formidable instrument until the end of his life. It was his choice of material. It would reach number 31 on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.

While it was not a great performances, any Roy Orbison picture sleeve was welcome at the time.

The Best Of The Soul Of Rock and Roll By Roy Orbison

May 16, 2009

The Soul Of Rock and Roll by Roy Orbison is a massive career spanning four disc, 107 song set. The Best Of The Soul Of Rock and Roll is an independent 18 song, single disc that is basically a sampler of the larger set. Obviously, if you are a fan of Orbison or of early rock ‘n’ roll the big box set is essential. If you would just like a sample of the Orbison sound or cannot afford the big one then this disc will do just fine.

Roy Orbison was an important figure in the early development of rock ‘n’ roll. He began as a rockabilly singer on the Sun Label in the 1950’s along with such artists as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. It was his years recording for the Monument Label, 1959-1965, that would bring him lasting fame.

His smooth yet powerful tenor voice and three octave range placed dozens of hits on the American charts as well as those of other countries. Such songs as “Oh, Pretty Woman,” “Only The Lonely,” “Blue Bayou,” and “In Dreams” remain well known over forty years after their release.

His late 1980’s work as a member of The Traveling Wilburys with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty, brought him a new generation of fans. He would die of a massive heart attack at age 52 on December 6, 1988.

The tracks that comprise The Best Of The Soul Of Rock and Roll are well thought out and span his career. The album as a whole has a somewhat overall disjointed feel because of its nature. However, the individual tracks are strong and are an excellent and enjoyable listen.

“Ooby Dooby” is from his Sun Label career. Recorded in 1956, it is a frenetic up-tempo rockabilly tune. It presents the early period of Orbison’s career where he is still searching for a musical style. “Mean Woman Blues,” recorded in 1963 has a similar rockabilly song structure but now he has refined his vocals in a pop direction which makes the song and his sound a lot smoother.

Orbison remains known for his ballads. “Crying,” “Blue Bayou,” “In Dreams” and “It’s Over” give a good taste of his ballad style and vocal prowess. They all are smooth building songs that show the purity of his voice.

Two rare live songs are included. “What’d I Say” from 1965 and “(All I Can Do Is) Dream You” from 1987 show that he could produce his songs live without any studio trickery. They also show that he had lost little vocal power in the 22 years between the performances.

Roy Orbison could also rock upon occasion. His biggest hit, “Oh Pretty Woman,” is instantly recognizable from the opening notes. “Working For The Man” remains one of my favorite Orbison songs. It is a story song with attitude that just rocks along.

One of his late career hits is also wisely included. His duet with Emmylou Harris, “That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again,” from the movie Roadie would become a country hit and win a 1981 Grammy Award.

The Best Of The Soul Of Rock and Roll is an enjoyable journey through the career of a music legend. Fans and casual listeners will not be disappointed