by Robert Wilkinson
Since this joint is about culture, when it's appropriate I celebrate birthdays of musicians I believe are above and beyond. April 23 marks the birthday of one of the greatest musical talents of the 20th Century. A contemporary of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins at Sun Records, he was one of the more unlikely looking rock stars ever to leave his immortal mark in music history.
As a kid growing up in the 50s and 60s, his soulful music and soaring voice impacted me and my music sensibilities tremendously (and apparently Bruce Springsteen and millions of others as well!) It is said that as a result of his 1963 UK tour, he inspired a young John Lennon to write the awesome "Please Please Me" trying to sound like him. I remember the widespread sadness when he checked out way too early in late 1988.
So here's a Happy 72nd birthday, Roy. Your music is still timeless, beautiful, and rocks! To celebrate, here’s one of my favorite videos of him, taken in Europe less than three weeks before he died. For your pleasure and enjoyment, the incredible Roy Orbison performing the awesome “You Got It.”
While you're there, check out his performance on American Bandstand doing "Pretty Woman." If you have more time, "Running Scared" comes from his "A Black and White Night Live" television production, a great production to watch in its entirety (it's for sale on various sites), and in case it drops off the page and you can't get back to it, here's the intense "I Drove All Night" music video, which definitely communicates the heat that the young are privileged to feel.
Thanks for the tunes, Roy. RIP and rock on!
© Copyright 2008 Robert Wilkinson