Fifty years ago, on June 6, 1960, singer Roy Orbison released what would become his first major hit, “Only the Lonely” on Monument Records. Not only did the song put Orbison on the map as a brilliant songwriter, many would argue that the dark ballad altered the course of rock and roll, thanks to its unique sound, structure and length. It would eventually rise to the #2 position on the Billboard Pop charts, and, in 1999, the song received a Grammy Hall of Fame award.
Here is a fantastic clip of Orbison performing the song, without his trademark sunglasses:
Roy Orbison, of course, went on to record many hit songs, including “Crying” and “Oh, Pretty Woman.” He earned a whole new generation of fans in the 80s, recording and performing with the Traveling Wilburys until his untimely death in 1988 at the age of 52. Shortly before his passing, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this musical milestone, we would love to hear from all the fans of this wonderful and timeless performer. Share your thoughts and memories of the late, great, Roy Orbison with all of us at Retroland.