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Roy Orbison - Songwriter, Singer, Guitarist - Biography

Born to a working-class Texan family in , Orbison grew up immersed in musical styles ranging from rockabilly and country to zydeco, Tex-Mex and the blues. His dad gave him a guitar for his sixth birthday and he wrote his first song, "A Vow of Love," when he was 8. In high school, Orbison played the local circuit with a group called the Teen Kings. When their song "Ooby Dooby" came to the attention of Sam Phillips, the legendary producer at Sun Records, Orbison was invited to cut a few tracks.

In addition to a highly collectible album called Roy Orbison at the Rockhouse , their collaboration yielded a re-recording of "Ooby Dooby" that became Orbison's first minor hit. After Orbison landed a record deal with the Nashville-based label Monument in , he began perfecting the sound that would define his career.

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His big break came after he tried to pitch his composition "Only the Lonely" to both Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers, and was turned down by both. Deciding to record the song himself, Orbison used his vibrato voice and operatic style to create a recording unlike anything Americans had heard at the time. Reaching as high the No. Between and , Orbison recorded nine Top 10 hits and another ten that broke into the Top When it came to composition, Orbison called himself "blessed But that's always after the fact—as I'm writing, it all sounds natural and in sequence to me.

As distinctive as his three-octave voice and unorthodox songwriting technique was Orbison's unglamorous style, which some have described as "geek chic. On a fateful day during his tour with the Beatles, Orbison left his glasses on the plane before a show, which forced him to wear his unsightly prescription sunglasses for that night's show. Although he considered the incident "embarrassing," the look became an instant trademark.

Orbison's unhip underdog look suited his music well, as his lyrics were marked by incredible vulnerability. At a time when rock music went hand-in-hand with confidence and machismo, Orbison dared to sing about insecurity, heartache and fear. His stage persona, which has been described as borderline masochistic, went a long way toward challenging the traditional ideal of aggressive masculinity in rock 'n' roll.

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Although the first half of the s saw the rise of Orbison's star, the second half of the decade brought harder times. Tragedy struck when Orbison's wife, Claudette, was killed in a motorcycle accident in , and again when his two oldest sons died in a house fire in Following those incidents, a devastated Orbison failed to generate many hits—and with the rise of the psychedelic movement in rock 'n' roll, the market for rockabilly had all but dried up anyway. Peter Lehman, director of the Department of Interdisciplinary Humanities at Arizona State University, said about that period, "I was living in New York between and , and even in Manhattan I could not find a record store that bothered to stock one copy of a newly released Orbison album; I had to special order them.

Orbison returned to his musical career in , however, when the Eagles invited him to join them on their "Hotel California" tour. That same year, he rekindled his relationship with country music fans by performing a memorable duet with Emmylou Harris on "That Lovin' You Feeling Again," which went on to win a Grammy Award. When Van Halen covered "Oh, Pretty Woman" in , rock fans were reminded that gratitude for the song was owed to Orbison. Diva TV Series lyrics - 1 episode, music - 1 episode, - Fame Misfits TV Series performer - 1 episode, writer - 1 episode, - Episode 1. Miranda TV Series performer - 1 episode, writer - 1 episode, - Holiday It Being Egypt The Countess.

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