Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Rock of Ages: Roy Orbison - "Crying" (1961)

Roy Orbison seems to be a forgotten name among my generation. The man passed away just around the time I could remember him being apart of The Traveling Wilburys and after his equally awesome song "You Got It" was a big hit. His career goes beyond inspiring a Richard Gere film and the song "Crying" is probably his crowning achievement in lush beauty. It's a heartbreakingly sad song, but Roy fills in the cracks of the heart with his beautiful voice. He trembles his way through the song and behind those signature shades, a tear is probably collecting. The instrumentation is equally beautiful with strings that swirl behind his voice, xylaphones tinkling and great back-up cooing.

The song itself is structured interestingly as well. The song builds slowly as the singers lyrics swell and build with melancholy. Each verse gains more elements of sound and comes to a very gorgeous peak right at the end. Roy Orbison's songs all have elements of this track somewhere in them. Whether it's the equally sad "Love Hurts" or the woozy "In Dreams," Roy Orbison always delivered a stellar vocal performance among some of the best early rock and roll guitar and instrumentation. "Crying" is the gold standard of his catalog.

The song has been covered many times, but the most memorable one was when Rebekah del Rio sang the song for the David Lynch film Mullholland Drive. It takes on another level of eerie loss when sung in Spanish and a capella. Roy Orbison's songs are some of the best that pop music has to offer and his voice is a timeless addition to the lexicon of rock and roll history. "Crying" is where this all started.

Up Next: The Wall of Sound

(Side Note: Mr. Ealer is right that I have three movies left to blog about. Those are coming, I promise.)

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