Born in Texas, Roy Orbison was an American singer-songwriter and musician.
Orbison’s career started in a rockabilly / country & western band in high school when he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success was with Monument Records in the early 1960s. 22 of his songs reached the Top Forty, including “Only the Lonely”, “Crying”, “In Dreams”, and “Oh, Pretty Woman”. His career faltered through the 1970s, but several covers of his songs (“Dream Baby” by Glen Campbell, “Crying” by Don McLean, “Blue Bayou” by Linda Ronstadt, to name a few) and the use of one in a film by David Lynch revived his career in the 1980s. He became a member of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne and released an album in 1988. Unfortunately, Orbison died of a heart attack at the young age of 52.
Two things made Orbison particularly memorable; the first was the quality of his voice. He was a natural baritone with a spectacular range. He used his powerful, distinctive voice to great effect – and his use of falsetto was masterful. Many people speculated that he could cover 4 octaves.
The second thing which created an air of mystery about Orbison was the “shades” which he wore. It turns out that they were prescription sunglasses because, like other siblings, the Orbison family had a history of eye problems. But Orbison began wearing the shades because he turned up to a gig and, realizing that his specs were still on the plane, only had the prescription Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses with him. From then on, the sunglasses were part of the Orbison style which he developed himself.
Orbison was loved by many of the world’s most famous pop and rock stars including the Beatles and Bob Dylan.