Roy Orbison

From ArticleWorld

Roy Kelton Orbison, also known as "The Big O," was an American singer and songwriter who pioneered rock and roll and whose many influential works spread out over forty years. Orbison broke into both country and pop charts and took rock and roll to a new level in the early 1960’s. He is the performer in which future generation artists like Bruce Springsteen and Chris Isaak found their roots.

Early Life

Roy Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas on April 23, 1936, and was raised in a small oil town (Wink, Texas). He started his first band, "The Wink Westerners," when he was 13 and spent most of his time singing, playing guitar, and writing songs. After high school he attended North Texas State College and left in 1955, determined to make it in the music business.

He moved to Memphis, Tennessee where he signed with Sun Records and recorded alongside Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. Orbison didn’t succeed at Sun Records and eventually moved to Monument Records. His first release was "Only The Lonely," and it went straight to the top.

Music Career

Orbison wrote and recorded three songs that are all in the Grammy Hall of Fame: "Only The Lonely," "Oh, Pretty Woman," and "Crying." He has four songs Rolling Stone’s the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."

Other artists in the business revered and admired Orbison for his musical talents. Elvis Presley once called him "the greatest singer in the world." Bob Dylan said, "Orbison…transcended all the genres…There wasn’t anything else on the radio like him.

Orbison also had an influence fellow musicians such as The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. He was good friends with both George Harrison and John Lennon, and, after touring Europe with then, talked them into coming to the United States.