Roy Orbison - in concert - 1987

Roy Orbison - Legend, angelic voice - heart stopping pathos.

Roy Orbison - in concert - 1987
Roy Orbison – Legend, angelic voice – heart stopping pathos.

Roy Orbison – live in Houston – January 1, 1987 – U.S. Tour – band soundboard –

The legendary Roy Orbison in concert this weekend. Recorded during his monumental U.S. tour on January 1, 1987.

Roy Orbison, who was a pivotal figure in the early days of rock experienced a resurgence in his popularity in the 1980s to an audience that perhaps wasn’t around in the beginning but who had “discovered” him by way of David Lynch’s film Blue Velvet and the subsequent video that played almost constantly via MTV. He had just signed a deal with Virgin Records and was just months away from releasing his first album for them when this tour started.

An excerpt from Wikipedia for those not already familiar:

Roy Orbison was known for his impassioned singing style, complex song structures, and dark, emotional ballads. His music was described by critics as operatic, earning him the nicknames “the Caruso of Rock” and “the Big O”. Many of Orbison’s songs conveyed vulnerability at a time when most male rock-and-roll performers chose to project defiant masculinity. He was known for his shyness and stage fright, which he countered by wearing dark sunglasses.

Orbison began singing in a rockabilly and country-and-western band at high school. He was signed by Sam Phillips of Sun Records in 1956, but enjoyed his greatest success with Monument Records. From 1960 to 1966, 22 of Orbison’s singles reached the Billboard Top 40. He wrote or co-wrote almost all of his own Top 10 hits, including “Only the Lonely” (1960), “Running Scared” (1961), “Crying” (1961), “In Dreams” (1963), and “Oh, Pretty Woman” (1964). Beginning in the mid-1960s, Orbison suffered a number of personal tragedies and his career faltered.

Orbison experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s following the success of several cover versions of his songs. In 1988, he co-founded the Traveling Wilburys (a rock supergroup) with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. Orbison died of a heart attack in December 1988 at age 52. One month later, his song “You Got It” (1989) was released as a solo single, becoming his first hit to reach the U.S. Top 10 in nearly 25 years.

Having worked with Roy Orbison on the videos for both In Dreams and Crying (with kd Lang), it’s fair to say his presence and gift were every bit as magical and profound as anything you’ve heard from anyone else who has been associated with him over the years. He was the real deal; no question. It’s fortunate we have a rich legacy to absorb and be inspired from. If you aren’t familiar, by all means, hit the play button and jump into this concert and go exploring his recorded work – it’s extensive and it’s brilliant – best of all, it’s timeless.


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