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Roy Orbison Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (38) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 23 April 1936Vernon, Texas, USA
Date of Death 6 December 1988Madison, Tennessee, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameRoy Kelton Orbison
Nicknames The Big O
The Voice
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Roy Orbison was born on April 23, 1936 in Vernon, Texas, USA as Roy Kelton Orbison. He was married to Barbara Orbison and Claudette Frady. He died on December 6, 1988 in Madison, Tennessee, USA.

Spouse (2)

Barbara Orbison (25 March 1969 - 6 December 1988) (his death) (2 children)
Claudette Frady (1 August 1957 - 6 June 1966) (her death) (3 children)

Trade Mark (4)

Flawless tenor voice with an unmistakable vibrato
Dark sunglasses
Often wears black clothes
Dark emotional ballads

Trivia (38)

When Orbison was first in the United Kingdom, he toured with The Beatles.
In 1966, his wife, Claudette, died in a motorcycle accident. Two years later, two of his sons were killed in a housefire.
Scored his first minor hit in 1956 with "Ooby Dooby" and had a No. 1 hit in 1964 with "Oh, Pretty Woman".
Toured the United Kingdom three times during 1963 and with Eagles in 1980.
Attended the University of North Texas and Odessa College.
Near the end of his life, he became friends with k.d. lang after they recorded his 1961 hit single "Crying" as a duet.
Teamed up with Bob Dylan, Beatle George Harrison, Jeff Lynne from Electric Light Orchestra and Tom Petty in the group The Travelling Wilburys.
Children: Roy Dewayne Orbison (1958 - September 15, 1968), Anthony King Orbison (1962 - September 15, 1968) and Wesley Orbison (born 1965) by first wife Claudette. Roy Kelton Orbison Jr. (born October 18, 1970) and Alex Orbison (born 1975) by second wife Barbara.
He was voted the 37th Greatest Artist in Rock 'n' Roll by Rolling Stone.
David Lynch frequently uses his songs in his films.
Was known to insist his backup performers give their best at every performance. Reportedly, one night while touring in Florida he dismissed his regular band (called the Candy Men, after an early hit), then invited the opening group, the Webs, to join him on tour, adopting the Candy Men name. One member of the Webs was singer/songwriter Bobby Goldsboro.
His identification with Wayfarer sunglasses began when he went on tour to England in the early 1960s, and forgot his regular specs. His lenses were prescription, but some fans mistook Orbison for being blind.
Longtime neighbors with Johnny Cash in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Underwent triple heart bypass surgery in 1978.
Recorded many of his most famous hits from the 1960s with legendary guitarist Hank Garland.
Is portrayed by Johnathan Rice in Walk the Line (2005) and by Brian Jones in Crazy (2008).
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987.
In 1977, Linda Ronstadt recorded a new version of "Blue Bayou" that became a major success and remained in the country music charts for months. In the early 1980s, Don McLean's recording of "Crying" charted all over the world, reaching No. 1 in the United Kingdom. A duet between Orbison and Emmylou Harris took him to the country music Top 10 and crossed over into the pop charts.
Won Grammy Awards in 1981, 1987 and posthumously in 1991.
Re-recorded many of his classic hits in 1987 to critical and commercial success.
Ranked #49 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll.
Was close friends with Elvis Presley and actor Martin Sheen.
Posthumously inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 674-676. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
Made only one movie in his career: The Fastest Guitar Alive (1967) which was offered to him after his friend Elvis Presley turned it down.
Both he and his friend Elvis Presley suffered a heart attack in their bathrooms. Orbison was hospitalized but died.
First saw Elvis Presley in concert in 1955. Presley was in his concert and entered in backstage the next year. Orbison kept telling about Elvis' visit to his friends.
He offered his first big hit song "Only the Lonely" (1960) originally to Elvis Presley, but unfortunately all the material for Presley's next album had already been chosen. Roy later offered the song to The Everly Brothers who had a previous hit with another Roy Orbison composition, "Claudette" in 1958. They suggested he record it himself which he finally did.
Last met Elvis Presley in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1976 in the King's last concert in gambling city. Orbison was in the audience and Presley said on the microphone: "Quite simply, the greatest singer in the world, Roy Orbison".
Was one of the Million Dollar singers for little record company Sun Records based in Memphis, Tennessee with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Recorded the song "Hound Dog Man" (1979) in the memory of Elvis Presley.
Of Roy's early compositions "Down the Line" was first recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis (1957) and The Everly Brothers had a charted hit with "Claudette" (1958) #30 US Pop, #1 UK.
The steady drum beat signifying confrontation in Roy's recording of "Running Scared" is reminiscent of the arrangement used in Frankie Laine's recording of "High Noon".
He was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1750 North Vine Street in Hollywood, California on January 29, 2010.
He was posthumously awarded a star on the Music City Walk of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee in November 2006.
The look of Marvel Comics supervillain and Spider-Man archenemy, Doctor Octopus is said to be based on him.
Following his death, he was interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Is mentioned in the 1975 song "Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen.

Personal Quotes (8)

People often ask me how would I like to be remembered and I answer that I would simply like to be remembered.
Whether I'm in London, Sydney or Hong Kong, it makes no difference. There is always someone who knows me. I must be one of the most unloneliest people in the world!
I thought maybe in 1964 I could have been swamped by The Beatles. But it turned out the other way round and I was voted Number One vocalist in 1965.
There was a lot of loneliness in West Texas where I grew up. We used to say it was the center of everything, five hundred miles away from anything.
I may be a living legend, but that sure don't help when I've got to change a flat tyre.
I was frustrated as a singer for a long time, particularly when some friendly rivalry broke out between me and a young guy in Texas named Buddy Holly, who, within a couple of months, had a couple of Number One singles and soon had stardom that reached to the Moon. I tried not to take it too hard, but when "Only the Lonely" happened in 1960, I reckoned it was about time too. I was an avid follower of the charts. I lived by them until "Only the Lonely" - and then I didn't look at them anymore.
Once I started singing, it was sort of a wonder. It was a great feeling, and it didn't hurt anybody, and it made me feel good, and some people even said, "Roy, that's nice.".
[After seeing his song "In Dreams" being used in Blue Velvet (1986)] I was mortified because they were talking about the "candy colored clown" in relation to a dope deal... I thought, "What in the world...?". But later, when I was touring, we got the video out and I really got to appreciate what David gave to the song, and what the song gave to the movie - how it achieved this otherworldly quality that added a whole new dimension to "In Dreams".

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