Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Song #74 of 9999 - Only the Lonely by Roy Orbison

Song #74 of 9999

Title: Only the Lonely
Artist: Roy Orbison
Year: 1960
Album: Lonely and Blue

A lot of people considered the early 1960s to be a dark period in the evolution of rock and roll. Buddy Holly had just been killed in a plane crash, Elvis Presley was in the army serving in Korea and Chuck Berry was on his way to jail for violating the Mann Act by transporting a 14-year-old girl over state lines. Many had declared "rock and roll is dead" as the 50s came to a close. Of course, no-one could predict the British Invasion that was lurking just a few years ahead.

I find this period to be pretty intriguing especially as a songwriter who is dedicated to the craft of writing great pop songs. At this time, publishing companies still ran their own houses with songwriters churning out songs to be performed by the top artists of the day. Some songwriters worked in office cubicles like those in the famous Brill Building in New York City, which included the likes of Phil Spector, Carole King, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, and Leiber and Stoller, just to name a few. Down south, Monument Records established a similar operation in Nashville, attracting the songwriting talent of Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Roy Orbison. After Elvis Presley passed on Orbison's "Only the Lonely," he recorded it himself, bringing national success to the independent label. The song is the perfect showcase for Orbison's velvety vocal and soaring falsetto. Great arrangement with majestic strings and cool backing vox. Enjoy this rare video of Roy Orbison without his trademark glasses.

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