What does it sound like?:
Roy Orbison is famous for his operatic vocal range, his emotive, melodramatic ballads and his tragic personal life. He is credited with popularising the Rock & Roll Ballad and bringing splendour to the ‘Nashville’ sound. He began his career blending Country, Rockabilly and Rock & Roll at Sun Records, just like Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins, but it was at Monument Records in the first half of the sixties where he made his mark.
His first hit, Only The Lonely set the tone. The song’s power is strengthened by being delivered with little force. The backing vocals are a whisper, pushing the musicians right into the background. Orbison’s lead is gentle, unassuming, compelling the listener to pull up a chair and pay close attention. The pain expressed feels complex and deeply personal, yet involving and inclusive at the same time. By the time The Big O rips his heart apart hitting the high notes at the song’s climax, our hearts are broken too. Somehow, he recovers enough at the end to re-enter the fray in search of lover, regardless of the risk. This mix of honest vulnerability and stoic masculinity transfixed his audience. » Continue Reading.