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Roy Orbison Poster

Biography

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

Overview (5)

Born in Vernon, Texas, USA
Died in Madison, Tennessee, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameRoy Kelton Orbison
Nicknames The Big O
The Voice
The Caruso of Rock
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 (5)

Flawless tenor voice with an unmistakable vibrato
Dark sunglasses
Often wears black clothes
Dark emotional ballads
Gibson ES-335 and Fender Stratocaster guitars.

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 single with "Ooby Dooby" (1956) and had a No. 1 hit single with "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964).
Toured the United Kingdom three times during 1963 and with Eagles (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 hit single "Crying" (1961) 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.
Recorded many of his most famous hits from the 1960s with legendary guitarist Hank Garland.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987), the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1987), the American Songwriters Hall of Fame (1989), and America's Pop Music Hall of Fame (2014).
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.
Re-recorded many of his classic hits to critical and commercial success (1987).
Ranked #49 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Rock & Roll.
Was close friends with Elvis Presley and actor Martin Sheen.
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 down.
First saw Elvis Presley in concert (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" (1958). They suggested he record the song himself which he finally did.
Last met Elvis Presley in Las Vegas, Nevada in the King's last concert in gambling city (1976). 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.
He was a huge fan of the original Star Trek (1966) series and would often play the series' theme at the beginning of his shows.
His natural hair color was platinum blond; however, he never liked his hair and began dyeing his hair black in his teens.
He smoked up to 80 cigarettes a day until he underwent triple coronary bypass surgery (1978). However, he continued to smoke cigarettes until his death.
Remained very popular in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, through the 1970s when his records in the United States were no longer making the charts.
Mentioned in the 1975 song "Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen.
He wanted close friend Martin Sheen to portray him in a biography.

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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