Only the Lonely by Roy Orbison.
Yesterday we let Ella Fitzgerald cheer us up. But riding the manic depressive whiplash of ups and downs today we wallow in the despair of Coronovirus isolation.
Roy Orbison--the trademark look of a jet black pompadour and the heavy framed dark glasses that he wore due to an eye sight problem.
Only the Lonely was written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson and was released by Monument Records in 1960. Distributed by London Records, it became Orbison’s first major hit and went to #2 on Billboard Pop Music Chart and #14 on the Billboard R&B chart. It did even better in Britain where it soared to #1 on the UK Singles Chart.
Orbison’s record was aptly described by The New York Times as expressing “a clenched, driven urgency.”
The London Records single release of Only the Lonely.
Other artists have covered the song, most notably Sonny James who had a 1969 #1 Country hit with it. But the song and sound will always be unique to Orbison. His recording also featured his soon-to-be-famous falsetto and vibrato that showcased a powerful voice. According to biographer Alan Clayson, it “came not from his throat but deeper within.” The song differed from the typical verse-chorus structure of popular music of the time by building and falling to a climax, with emotional expression then rare for male performers.
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