Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison

was a famous American singer, songwriter, guitarist, and a great pioneer of rock and roll music. Roy was born on April 23, 1936 and died on December 6, 1988. His music spanned an era of over four decades. He became famous in the mid 1960's, internationally, for his ballads about lost loves and melodies. He was born in Vernon, Texas. He was the second son born to Nadine Shults and Orbie Lee Orbison. The family moved to Fort Worth, Texas in 1943 so his father could find work during World war II in munitions and aircraft factories. They moved on to Wink, Texas in 1946.

Roy was 13 years old when he organized his first band, The Wink Westerners. When he wasn’t singing with the band, he spent his time writing songs and playing his guitar. His band appeared every week on KERB radio in Kermit, Texas. The band had some success on local television. They had a 30 minute weekly show on KMID and KOSA television stations. Johnny Cash was one of their guests and he suggested that they sign a contract with his record producer, Sam Phillips, of Sun records. They were renamed The Teen Kings and Roy quit college and went to Sun records in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ooby Dooby was Roy’s first commercial success in June, 1956. This song was written by some of Roy’s college friends. Sam Phillips produced many of Roy’s early songs. He signed with RCA Records then on to Monument Records after his contract with RCA expired in 1959. Roy joined up with Emmy Lou harris in 1980 and they won the 1981 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance By A Duo or Group with Vocal. The song which won them the award was, That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again.

After about a ten year break, he signed with the Virgin records label. He re-recorded his 1961 hit song, Crying, with K. D. Lang in 1987. The song was used on the soundtrack of the movie Hiding Out. The song also won a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. Roy then joined with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Tom Petty and together they formed The Traveling Wilbury’s. More success followed this move and he also recorded the solo, Mystery Girl.

Roy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Some of his more famous songs were, Pretty Woman, Only the Lonely, and You Got It. Roy received a triple bypass surgery on January 18, 1978 and on December, 6, 1988, while visiting his mother, he died of a massive heart attack. Roy was only 52 years old at the time of his death.