The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

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American Music Masters 20065/7

Roy Orbison - 2006

“Rock and roll’s Caruso,” Roy Orbison is the honoree for the 11th annual American Music Masters series. Orbison was a pioneer of the dark, sophisticated and solitary side of rock and roll. He possessed a three-octave range and sang in a soaring, operatic tenor. A balladeer with a timeless quality to his music, Orbison specialized in heartbreaking musical meditations on the subject of love. Though the Texas-born singer/guitarist briefly recorded for Sun Records where he had one modest hit, “Ooby Dooby,” Orbison never really fit in with the rowdy rockabilly crowd. Early on, he enjoyed success as a songwriter, placing songs with Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly. After signing with Nashville-based Monument Records in 1960, his own career took off. Orbison’s sumptuous, sophisticated pop hits include “Only the Lonely,” “Blue Bayou” and “It’s Over.” On the rock and roll side, he cut his biggest hit, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” in 1964. Tribute Concert Performers: Glen Campbell, Tift Merritt, Raul Malo, Ricky Skaggs, The Velvets, Patty Griffin, The Crickets with Sonny Curtis, Mandy Barnett, Cowboy Jack Clement and Billy Burnett