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Roy Orbison The Big O (LP)

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(Magnum Force) 10 tracks - Original 'Sun' recordings On the 11th June 1960, Roy Orbison's Only... more

Roy Orbison: The Big O (LP)

(Magnum Force) 10 tracks - Original 'Sun' recordings

On the 11th June 1960, Roy Orbison's Only The Lonely entered the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, it climbed to the Number Two spot the following month and remained in the chart for twenty one weeks. The recording entered the U.K. Top Fifty on 28th July, but dropped off the list the following week. In August it reappeared on the chart where it spent twenty three weeks and climbed to Number One. The record gave Orbison his first Gold Disc and heralded the start of a decade during which he scored twenty seven U.S. hits, thirty U.K. chart entries (including ten Top 10 hits) and won a total of twelve Gold Discs.

 Orbison's spectacular success was based on a number of factors. At the core of his appeal lay his material, most of which was self penned. His compositions explored the nature of love with a strong preoccupation for the heartache and desolation it could produce. Unlike most of his comtemporaries who catered solely for the anguish of the teenage audience of the early Sixties, Orbison's maturity and his country and western background enabled him to create songs which appealed to older people as well as the adolescents who made up most of the singles market at the time. Country composers had never traditionally pitched their songs at teenagers although the plaintive lyrics often appealed to that age group. The work of such lyricists as Fred Rose, Ernest Tubb Floyd Tillman and Hank Williams appealed to country fans of all ages. It was not until the rock and roll revolution of the Fifties that such Nashville based writers as Felice and Boudleaux Bryant made conscious attempts to write teen orientated lyrics. Although Orbison made a few concessions, most of his compositions retained the universal appeal of the older country songs and were similar in style to those of Don Gibson who had achieved the same effect in the late Fifties with such songs as I Can't Stop Loving You, Legend In My Time, Oh Lonesome Me and Blue Blue Day. Orbison's solo compositions included Falling, In Dreams and Working For The Man and, in collaboration with Bill Dees, he wrote Oh Pretty Woman and It's Over. His most successful teaming was with Joe Melson who he had met at Odessa College, Texas in the early Fifties. The partnership produced a string of million sellers including Only The Lonely, Blue Angel, Running Scared, Crying and Blue Bayou. The lasting appeal of Orbison's work has been confirmed by the number of times the songs have been recorded by other artists. In 1979 Linda Ronstadr scored with Blue Bayou and in 1980 Don McLean topped the charts with Crying.

Another reason for Roy Orbison's success was his superb live performances and the overall effect of his image, which seemed to echo the haunting despair which penetrated all his work, including his apparently optimistic songs. In real life Roy Orbison was a very shy man and his large dark glasses and sombre clothing appeared to be a veil behind which he hid himself from the world. On stage he exuded an incredible charisma, he hardly moved — he simply stood with his guitar and allowed his enormous vocal range to convey his message. His whole stage persona seemed to be an extension of the themes of his songs — a whole life of tragedy and despair captured in one brooding figure. His audience loved it and the Big O's was indeed one of the most staggeringly powerful images of the pop scene in the Sixties. The man behind the image was been Roy Kelton Orbison in Vernon, Texas on 23rd April 1936 and brought up three hundred miles away in the town of Wink where his father worked on the oil rigs. His father taught him to play guitar when he was six and at the age of eight he was performing regularly on a local radio station. In his teens he became the leader of a western swing outfit entitled The Wink Westerners. The group built up a strong following in the Wink area and landed their own programme on radio station KVWC. In 1952, at the International Lions Conclave in Chicago, Roy appeared as the musical representative of the state of Texas. Soon afterwards while pursuing a geology course at North Texas State College, Roy met an up and coming singer called Pat Boone and began to consider the possibilities of a career as a full time entertainer.

By 1954 Roy Orbison had a television show in Odessa, Texas and towards the end of that year the success of an Elvis Presley concert in the area and the growth in the popularity, among white teenagers, of rockabilly and rhythm and blues records, caused him to reconsider the style and repertoire of his band. In 1955 they changed their name to the Teen Kings and began to play the sort of music that appealed to the teenage market. At College Roy met two fellow students Wade Moore and Dick Penner (who were later to record for Sam Phillips's Sun label as Wade and Dick) and heard their composition Ooby Dooby. The Teen Kings hired Norman Petty's studio in Clovis, New Mexico and used it to record Ooby Dooby and Trying To Get To You.

Petty would later record Buddy Holly's most celebrated sides in the same studio. Ooby Dooby was released on the Je-Wel label but received limited exposure. The group re-recorded the song for Columbia who rejected it, but released a version by Sid King and his band for the rockabilly market. In the meantime Imperial acquired Trying To Get To You and released it as the flip of So Long, Good Luck and Goodbye by Weldon Rogers, who was credited with both sides. Orbison was convinced of the potential of Ooby Dooby and sent the tape of the record to Sam Phillips in Memphis. The legendary producer was impressed by what he heard and immediately sent for the Teen Kings to re-record the song, which coupled with the Orbison composition Go Go Go, was released on the famous Sun label in May 1956. The record was credited to Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings because in view of his success with Elvis and Johnny Cash, Phillips favoured the idea of promoting male solo artists.

Ooby Dooby went on to become one of Sun's biggest hits, selling half a million copes and reaching Number 59 in the Billboard Hot 100. A classic rocker, the song has been covered by many notable artists including Jerry Lee Lewis and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Go Go Go which Orbison has said was written with the assistance of Johnny Cash, has also become a rock roll standard; under the title Down The Line it has been recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis, Ricky Nelson and many others.

In the eighteen months following the success of Ooby Dooby, Roy toured extensively with fellow Sun artists Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Warren Smith, Sonny Burgess and Billy Lee Riley. He also had three more excellent singles released on the label. You're My Baby, written by Johnny Cash, was released in SepteMber 1956. Sweet and Easy To Love, was issued in January 1957; its flipside was Devil Doll, one or Orbison's most effective ballads. Finally, December 1957 saw the release of Chicken Hearted. During this period he also recorded a number of sides that were nor released at the time. Several of these saw the light of day in 1961 on the Sun album "Roy Orbison At The Rmkhouse". The previously unissued tracks include You're Gonna Cry and I Never Knew (both written by Roy but credited to Sam Phillips who had bought the rights to several Orbison compositions) and a superb interpretation of the Chuck Willis rhythm and blues hit It's Too Late.

Roy left Sun in 1958 by which time his songwriting abilities had become recognised wirh the Everly Brothers' recording of Claudette which appeared as the flipside of their million selling All I Have To Do Is Dream. The same year Wesley Rose signed him as a staff writer for the giant Acuff-Rose publishing company. Soon afterwards Rose arranged for him to meet RCA producer Chet Atkins who signed him to the label for whom he recorded a single without success. His next move took him to Fred Foster's new Monument label; his third release was Only The Lonely and the rest, as they say, is history. After a string of spectacular successes with Monument Roy joined MGM in 1965 in a million dollar deal. Although he continued his chart success with his new label Orbison's sales never repeated those of his Monument recordings. Apart from his falling record sales, Roy's career was further damaged by his film debut in a lightweight MGM production entitled The Fastest Guitar Alive.

In 1966 the doom which psulated was reflected in a real life tragedy when his wife Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident. Soon afterwards his moving but morbid recording of Don Gibson's Too Soon To Know, gave him his last U.K. Top Ten entry. Two years later, while Roy was undertaking a sell out British tour, two of his sons were killed in a house fire. In 1969 Roy scored his last British chart hit to date with Penny Arcade.
Throughout the Seventies he remained a regular tour attraction although his career was interrupted by open heart surgery towards the end of the decade. In 1976 he renewed his recording links with Fred Foster on a fine Monument album entitled Regeneration and in 1979 he recorded an album, Laminar Flow, for Asylum. The following year he reached Number 55-on the U.S. Billboard pop charts with That Lavin' Feeling Again, a duet with Emmylou Haris which was featured in the film Roadie. In 1982 he was one of the star attractions at Wembley's International Festival of Country Music, where he received a tremendous reception from the audience. In 1985, along with Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, he returned to Sam Phillips's old Sun studio and cut an album for producer Chip Moman.
The material on this album is a reminder of the standard of excellence that Roy Orbison achieved during his spell with Sun. The collection includes the hit version of Ooby Dooby and such other great up-tempo offerings as Go Go Go (a.k.a. Down The Line), You're My Baby and Domino as well as the Sun cut of Trying To Get To You and Devil Doll and It's Too Late which showcase the ballad styling that was to make him such a star a few years later.
Liner Notes Bill Williams

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Article properties: Roy Orbison: The Big O (LP)

  • Interpret: Roy Orbison

  • Album titlle: The Big O (LP)

  • Genre Rock

  • Year of publication 1986

  • Geschwindigkeit 33 U/min
  • Vinyl Size LP (12 Inch)
  • Record Grading Mint (M)
  • Sleeve Grading Mint (M)
  • Artikelart LP

  • EAN: 2500051111529

  • weight in Kg 0.3
Orbison, Roy - The Big O (LP) LP 1
01 Go, Go, Go
02 I Never Knew
03 It's Too Late
04 Chicken Hearted
05 Devil Doll
06 Domino
07 Oooby Dooby
08 Trying To Get To You
09 You're Gonna Cry
10 You're My Baby
  Roy Orbison Born on 23 4th 1936 in Vernon, Texas. Died on 6.12th 1988 in Tennesse.... more
"Roy Orbison"


Roy Orbison

Born on 23 4th 1936 in Vernon, Texas.
Died on 6.12th 1988 in Tennesse.


Roy Orbison

The man with the unmistakable voice began as a rockabilly singer, then went as a staff composer (at Acuff - Rose) to Nashville. From his contract with Sun Records, he bought himself free, signed with Monument, where he began the assembly line production fate pregnant pain ballads. Among his classics and evergreens include 'Crying', 'Only The Lonely', 'Dream Baby', 'In Dreams', 'It's Over' and of course 'Pretty Woman' (a total of 29 US-Hits 1956-1967).

1966 accident his wife Claudette deadly on a motorcycle, only two years later both Orbison's sons died in a house fire. On 25 3 1969 Roy married in Nashville, the 19 year old Barbara Anne Wellhonen from Bielefeld (two common sons: Roy Kelton Jr., born in 1970, and Alexander, born 1974). During the 70 years it has been quiet around the superstar, who had to undergo a dangerous heart surgery.

End of the 80 he received a new contract with Virgin, again bubbled the hits, and Orbison was next to George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty solid Roy ORBISON Mm member of the Traveling Wilburys. At 6:12. In 1988, he died 'in Nashville a heart attack, his designated successor at the Wilburys, Del Shannon, shot himself.

Orbison's only German-language single is the mega-Rarität- both original titles were übersungen of the production line of Wolf Kabitzky on 06.09.1963 in Hamburg Teldec studio in the Easter Road with German lyrics. 1987 was recorded 'The Big O' in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

From the Bear Family Book - 1000 pinpricks of Bernd Matheja - BFB10025 -


Roy Orbison

Historians love to write about how Roy Orbison got started in the music business on the wrong foot, being forced to cut rock 'n' roll until he found his niche with the sort of orchestrated ballads that would cement his place in the Hall of Fame. 

While it is true that Roy himself preferred the softer songs and the pop ballads, and certainly that is where he found his greatest chart success, one thing cannot be denied—Roy Orbison's veins pulsed with the blood of a rocker. Although he always denied it, he was great at rocking, and left behind some of the best-loved rockabilly tracks of all time.

 This collection is perhaps the first of its kind, the first to collect all of Roy's best 'rockin'' material from the different periods in his career—from the early days at Sun Records and at the Norman Petty studios, to the short-lived days as an RCA Victor artist in the late 50s, and the few but fertile rockers that Roy cut in his golden days for Monument Records in the early 1960s.

 When an artist finds such massive success with a radically different style such as Roy Orbison did with his pop hits in the 60s, it is easy to write off early efforts with a dismissive wave of the hand. In fact, in doing the research for these liner notes, I was shocked at how nearly every single book or article about Roy Orbison regurgitated the same details about Roy's early rocking period, usually in a few short paragraphs. The thought occurred to me that had Roy not gone on to record those massive pop hits, he would have had the sort of attention paid to his rockabilly sides as the other greats of Sun Records—Carl Perkins, Billy Lee Riley, Sonny Burgess, Warren Smith, and others who have had every minute detail of their 1950s activities researched and obsessed over time and again.

The fact of the matter is that Roy was another teenager in the mid-1950s who traveled to see Elvis Presley play and got swept up in the fury—women, fame, attention, and Roy's own admission that his only goal was "a Cadillac and a diamond ring by the age of 21."Whether or not he was teen idol material mattered not—for deep in his soul Roy felt the calling of wild bop music known as rock 'n' roll. 

Much has also been written about how unlikely a star Roy Orbison was. True, back in the 1950s as it is today, looks mattered over talent in the pop business, and Roy Orbison was not exactly an attractive man. Born albino, he suffered the eyesight problems of albinism, and in fact in the early days (before he wore glasses on stage) many thought Roy was blind because he had to be led up to the microphone. But he dyed his hair a deep jet black, bought himself the finest hepcat clothes that money could buy, equipped himself with top-of-the-line equipment (teenage Roy had a Les Paul 'black beauty' guitar—the most expensive solidbody Gibson made—and a Ray Butts Echosonic Amp like Scotty Moore—also the most expensive custom-ordered amplifier one could own at the time), and made up his mind that he was going to be a rock 'n' roll star, looks be damned.

In the music business, there has always been a great divide between the gifted and the determined, and Roy was both. The determination paid off—in fact the stubborn Roy stuck at it through high and low times throughout his 40-year stint in the music business. How many artists can say they started off with a hit on their first record, then sank so low as to eat rolled up balls of cornmeal and water (as Roy did between his Sun days and the pop hits), found top 40 success and made a million dollars, lost his wife to a motorcycle accident and two sons to a house fire, then wound up getting inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and having a top 10 hit just as he died? The story of Roy Orbison is a story of perseverance and dogged determination more than anything else.

West Texas is precisely the sort of place to breed a determined young man like Roy Orbison. Hot, dusty, and flat—these are the only goodthings that can be said about a place like Wink, Texas, where Roy was raised. Born in April 23, 1936 to hard working parents (Roy's dad Orbie Lee was a rigger in the oilfields), Roy was the classic outcast, a subject that later permeated his hits like Only The Lonelyand In Dreams.

Roy had a good head on his shoulders, though, and quickly found that while he wasn't good at football and hard, menial labor, he was good at drawing and singing. Perhaps the most telling picture of his early years is a photo of Roy posed in front of a very large blackboard mural. Roy had created an elaborate Christmas drawing, which apparently was so well received that the entire school was taken to view his creation. In the photo, the huge mural dwarfs the diminutive Roy, who stands beaming from ear to ear, his eyes barely visible through his thick coke-bottle glasses. Roy had found that he could use his talents to gain acceptance and praise from others, even if he didn't fit in with the football players and oil riggers.

Roy's musical talents surfaced early on as well, and by his early teens was leading a local aggregation called the Wink Westerners, a group that eventually turned into the Teen Kings. The group began by playing all the country & western hits of the day, with Roy being particularly knocked out by Lefty Frizzell's voice. As was the norm of the day, the group also found itself having to play pop standards like Moonlight Serenadeand Stardust. All that would change the day that Elvis Presley blew through West Texas like a hurricane, changing everything in his path.

The details of exactly where and when Roy saw Elvis for the first time are murky, but it's generally accepted that Roy had heard about the noise Elvis was making in the music world, and in fact his father had told him of seeing a Presley show that he deemed "terrible."Roy made up his mind to see what the fuss was all about, and went to see Elvis play, either at the Big D Jamboree in Dallas or at one of the many shows Elvis played across West Texas in 1954 and 1955.

It's now hard to imagine a time when such things were so shocking or life-changing, but when Roy recounted seeing Elvis for the first time, he remembered Elvis spitting out his chewing gum on stage, breaking guitar strings, talking "with the coarse diction of a truck driver,"rolling around on the floor while singing, and causing a near-riot in the crowd between turning the ladies on and ticking the men off in the process.
Like thousands of other teenagers all over the country, Elvis' music, looks and attitude represented something that their generation could latch on to and call their own. In no time at all, the Wink Westerners were doing their own interpretation of hillbilly bop and looking at getting a piece of the Presley pie for their very own.

The group made some line-up changes, most notably adding rhythm guitarist Johnny 'Peanuts' Wilson to the line-up, who brought with him a healthy love for the new rock 'n' roll music (and later would cut the classic single Cast Iron Arm.) After a spell during which Roy and drummer Billy Pat Ellis went to North Texas State College in Denton, the whole group moved to Odessa, where they all attended junior college together, and changed their name from the Wink Westerners to the Teen Kings. It wasn't long before the group made its first recording, an acetate demo of a song that Roy had learned from two students at North Texas State named Wade Moore and Dick Penner. The song was Ooby Dooby,and although it was a simple song with nonsense lyrics, Roy had seen Wade and Dick make crowds go crazy with the tune.


The demo session was intended as an audition for Columbia Records. Columbia saw no future with the band, but A&R man Don Law did give Ooby Doobyto Sid King & the Five Strings to record, who released it on Columbia to little fanfare (these early Orbison demos of Ooby Doobyand Hey Miss Fanniecan be found on the Roy Orbison box set on Bear Family, BCD 16423).

Around this time, Roy and the Teen Kings had caught the eye of local impresario Weldon Rogers, who agreed to put out a Teen Kings 45rpm record as soon as they had something recorded. The group then traveled to the other notable studio in the region, Norman Petty's Studio in Clovis, New Mexico, where they re-cut Ooby Doobyand a new flip side, Tryin' To Get To You, which they had learned from Elvis' live shows (one report has Roy owning a pre-release acetate of Elvis' version). The two numbers were released on the tiny Je-Wel record label, an acronym that stood for the financial backer's daughter Jean Oliver and Weldon Rogers, who handled the music and promotional side of the label.

 The Je-Wel record took off locally, selling hundreds of copies and catapulting the Teen Kings to local fame. The record made so much noise that another local impresario, Cecil Holifield, notified Sam Phillips of Sun Records that the Je-Wel contract was not legally binding, with Orbison and the other boys under the age of 21. When Holifield and Sam Phillips threatened legal action against Je-Wel Records, the Teen Kings were released from their contract and given instructions to come immediately to Memphis to record for Sun.

In the rapidly moving waters of the day, songs could break overnight, and just as easily be forgotten. Sam Phillips knew this, and brought the group to Memphis as fast as possible to re-cut Ooby Doobyyet again, and capture the momentum that the Je-Wel record had promised. When the group arrived in Memphis, Sam rushed them into the studio and explored their potential as new rockabilly hitmakers. The group re-recorded Ooby Doobya total of four times, but Phillips felt they hadn't gotten a good recording of the song, and in fact wound up calling Weldon Rogers seeking to lease the Je-Wel master. This after threatening legal action against him only a month earlier! Weldon offered to sell the Je-Wel master for $1100, but Sam decided to go with the first take the boys had laid down at the Sun Studio instead.

For a flip side, the band came up with a new rocker, Go Go Gowhich was a scorching rockabilly mover that has become one of the 'standards' in the rockabilly song repertoire to this day, though usually called Down The Line, the title that Jerry Lee Lewis gave it when he re-cut the song a year later for the flip side of Breathless

One thing that should be pointed out regarding all of the early rockabilly sides that Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings recorded is that Roy played all the lead guitar parts himself. If nothing else, Roy established himself as one of the great rockabilly axemen, cutting solos that were as tough sounding and biting as any of his contemporaries. Few know that when they hear that classic intro to Go Go Gothat it's Roy himself tearing it up on the guitar! The band also recorded another couple of takes of Tryin' To Get To Youat the first Sun session, but Sam chose the two rockers (and picked Go Go Goas the flip to ensure his own publishing interests) and rushed Ooby Doobyout as Sun 242 as quickly as possible. The single did very well, selling up to 200,000 copies by some reports, and Roy Orbison became a star for the first time.

Roy's tenure at Sun has been rehashed in Orbison biographies many times over. According to Orbison, he kept trying to get Sam Phillips and his in-house producer 'Cowboy' Jack Clement to listen to his ballads, which he felt were his forte. If you believe everything you read, Phillips and Clement forced Orbison to record rock 'n' roll material against his will, while he tried in vain to convince them that he was a ballad singer. Again, according to lore, Orbison eventually showed them with a giant"I told you so"when he scored numerous top ten hits with his ballads in the early 1960s.

 Like a lot of music history, it all makes for a nice story. But human accounts differ from the recorded material—and for that matter photographs—from his time at Sun.





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