Roy Orbison was born on April 23, 1936 in Vernon, Texas. For his sixth birthday, Roy asked for a harmonica, but fortunately his daddy gave him a guitar.
Originally signed to Sun Records in 1956, Roy would eventually have a string of hit singles with Monument Records, including “Only The Lonely” and “Blue Bayou.” This became an unbroken string of Top 40 hits that lasted for four years. During this time, Roy became the top selling American artist and one of the world’s biggest names.
In May 1963, Roy accepted an invitation to tour England on a bill with The Beatles. The tour was sold-out in one afternoon. On the first night, Roy did fourteen encores before The Beatles could get on stage. There, a friendship was developed between Roy and the Beatles, one that would lead to a highly successful collaboration over two and a half decades later.
“Oh Pretty Woman” was written by Roy together with his new writing partner Bill Dees and in 1964 it became Roy’s biggest hit, going to number one in almost every country of the world. Over the years Roy would find great success as both a singer and songwriter.
In 1988 Roy began collaborating with Jeff Lynne, who had just produced George Harrison’s Cloud Nine album. That led to a fateful afternoon that found George, Jeff, Roy, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan writing and recording a b-side for George’s latest single. That track, “Handle With Care” never made it to the b-side of a single, but rather became a top 10 single on it’s own from the Traveling Wilburys.
Two short months after the release of Traveling Wilburys Vol 1, Roy died of a heart attack at age 52, but his legacy and music live on.