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Roy Orbison


Roy Kelton Orbison is born in Vernon, Texas.


Having been signed to Sun Records, Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings’ first single, “Ooby Dooby,” becomes a minor rockabilly hit, peaking at #59.


Roy Orbison enters the Top Forty for the first time with “Only the Lonely.” The song peaks at #2, held back from the top spot by Brenda Lee’s “I’m Sorry.”


“Running Scared,” by Roy Orbison, reaches #1 on Billboard’s singles chart. It is quickly followed by “Crying,” which holds down the #2 spot for two weeks.


“Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)” becomes Roy Orbison’s fifth single to reach the Top Five in less than two years.


Roy Orbison kicks off 1963 with the release of “In Dreams,” which peaks at #7. He will have four other hits that year, including “Mean Woman Blues” (#5).


“Oh! Pretty Woman,” by Roy Orbison, reaches Number One for the first of three weeks, making it one of the biggest hits in a year otherwise dominated by the Beatles and the British Invasion.


Roy Orbison signs with MGM Records, ending a long and fruitful association with the Monument label.


Roy Orbison has the first of three minor hits for MGM, his new label, “Ride Away” (#25).


Roy Orbison’s wife, Claudette - whom he’d divorced in 1964 and remarried in 1966 - dies after being hit by a truck on her motorcycle.


Roy Orbison’s home in Hendersonville, Tennessee, burns down, killing two of his three children.


Milestones, the last of eleven Roy Orbison albums on the MGM label, is released.


Class of ’55 - which reunites Sun Records alumni Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins as a latter-day “Million Dollar Quartet” - is released.


Roy Orbison is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 2nd annual induction dinner. Bruce Springsteen is his presenter.


Roy Orbison performs at the Coconut Grove nightclub with a stellar band. The concert is aired on Cinemax as Roy Orbison and Friends


Rhino Records releases For the Lonely


Volume One, by the Traveling Wilburys, is released. This anonymous supergroup comprises Nelson Wilbury (George Harrison), Lucky Wilbury (Bob Dylan), Lefty Wilbury (Roy Orbison), Otis Wilbury (Jeff Lynne) and Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr. (Tom Petty). The album is a hit, reaching #3 and selling more than 3 million copies.


Roy Orbison performs what would turn out to be his last concert in Cleveland, Ohio.


Roy Orbison dies of a heart attack while visiting his mother Nadine at her home outside Nashville, Tennessee.


Roy Orbison’s Mystery Girl, completed just prior to his death, is released. It will peak at #5 and is certified platinum (1 million sold). Simultaneously, the single “You Got It” returns him to the Top Forty for the first time since 1966.


King of Hearts, by Roy Orbison, is released. The album consisted of posthumously completed leftovers from the 1988 sessions for Mystery Girl.

Roy Orbison