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Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison

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Also Known As: Died: December 6, 1988
Born: April 23, 1946 Cause of Death: Heart Attack
Birth Place: Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A beloved and highly influential figure in pop and rock from the late 1950s until his extraordinary comeback in the late 1980s, Roy Orbison was a singer and songwriter possessed of a voice capable of projecting desire, loneliness and heartbreak on an operatic scale in such enduring hits as "Only the Lonely," "Oh Pretty Woman," "In Dreams," "Blue Bayou" and countless others. He was a second-string figure on the Sun Records label, the groundbreaking Memphis outfit that produced the early work of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, but found his niche after leaving for Monument Records in 1961. There, he brought together swelling orchestral strings and heavenly vocal choruses behind the formidable power of his voice, which could rise from a guttural growl to an angelic falsetto. His Byronic music and persona ran out of steam in the late '60s, but a generation of singers, from Linda Ronstadt and Bruce Springsteen to Chris Isaak and k.d. lang, paid tribute with covers that led to a revival in the late '80s that encompassed countless live shows, re-recorded versions of his greatest hits, and The Traveling Wilburys, a Grammy-winning collaboration with George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty....

A beloved and highly influential figure in pop and rock from the late 1950s until his extraordinary comeback in the late 1980s, Roy Orbison was a singer and songwriter possessed of a voice capable of projecting desire, loneliness and heartbreak on an operatic scale in such enduring hits as "Only the Lonely," "Oh Pretty Woman," "In Dreams," "Blue Bayou" and countless others. He was a second-string figure on the Sun Records label, the groundbreaking Memphis outfit that produced the early work of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins, but found his niche after leaving for Monument Records in 1961. There, he brought together swelling orchestral strings and heavenly vocal choruses behind the formidable power of his voice, which could rise from a guttural growl to an angelic falsetto. His Byronic music and persona ran out of steam in the late '60s, but a generation of singers, from Linda Ronstadt and Bruce Springsteen to Chris Isaak and k.d. lang, paid tribute with covers that led to a revival in the late '80s that encompassed countless live shows, re-recorded versions of his greatest hits, and The Traveling Wilburys, a Grammy-winning collaboration with George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty. Though Orbison died at the height of his comeback, the incredible four decades of work he left behind represented some of the greatest, most passionate songs in the history of 20th century pop music.

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