Roy Orbison Tribute

On December 6, 1988 : Roy Orbison dies at the age of 52.

On a cold day in December of 1988, Roy Orbison complained of chest pains in his mothers home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He was rushed by ambulance to the Hendersonville Hospital, where he died later that evening on December 6th.

Roy Orbison possessed one of the great rock and roll voices. He sang heartbroken ballads and bluesy rockers alike, running up a formidable hit streak in the early 60's. From the release of "Only the Lonely" in 1960 to "Oh! Pretty Woman," a span of four years, Orbison cracked the Top Ten eight times and had 19 top 40 entries for Monument through 1964. Orbison's most memorable performances were melodramatic ballads, such as "Crying" and "It's Over," which he sang in a brooding, tremulous voice. The melancholy in his songs resonated with listeners of all ages, but especially heartsick teenagers who knew how it felt to lose a love.

And Roy Orbison was no stranger to loss of love himself. In 1966 a tragedy almost finished his career when his wife Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident. Two years later, a house fire killed two of his three children in his Hendersonville home. The double blow destroyed Orbison's creativity, and he abandoned songwriting altogether.

The remarkable collection of work recorded by Roy Orbison is tied not to any one decade but virtually to the entire lifespan of rock 'n roll. He began his career in the '50's, a friend and contemporary of Elvis Presley; he shared billings in Britain with the Beatles in the '60's; saw his works covered by the likes of Linda Ronstadt in the '70's; watched as his classic, In Dreams became a keystone of David Lynch's film Blue Velvet.

At the time of his death, Roy Orbison was enjoying a renewed popularity with the Traveling Wilburys. His posthumous album Mystery Girl (1989), became the biggest selling album of his illustrious career.

His last performance was on Dec.4 in Cleveland- appropriately, the future home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Roy Orbison remains as one of the rock's truly legendary figures: a consistent talent whose influence grows with each passing year.

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