"You Got It" - Roy Orbison
from the album Mystery Girl (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #9 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 11
Today's song of the day comes from rock and roll icon Roy Orbison, who had grown up in modest means in Texas in the 40s, adopting his signature look - darkened glasses (he wasn't blind) and jet-black hair - pretty early on. Getting signed on to the legendary Sun Studios (home at one time to Elvis and Johnny Cash), Orbison released his breakthrough hit, "Ooby Dooby", in 1956, and popped on to the pop chart at #59. However, he was unable to follow up on that success, and beside his songwriting, which scored him a B-side to a #1 hit with the Everly Brothers' "Claudette" (named for Roy's wife), he lost almost everything, retired from even performing live. After a break, where he concentrated on writing, he re-upped with RCA, and put out the string-backed "Uptown" in 1959, which brought him back to the chart at #72. However, it was his next release that really got America and the world to see who he really was an artist. "Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel)", from a year later, would capture the heartache and solitude that his aching falsetto voice could relay like none of the other teen idols that were all over radio. The single climbed to #2 in the U.S., and was an international smash, topping the chart in the UK, and top-10 in Canada (#2) and Australia (#5). In 1961, his song "Running Scared" became his first to top the Hot 100 in America. Roy would go on to tour with the three biggest bands in pop music, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and the Rolling Stones. His (probably) best-known track, "Oh, Pretty Woman", went to #1 in 1964, but it would be his last to reach the top 10 on the American pop chart for 25 years. His modest success continued, but personal tragedies like the death of not only his wife but his two oldest sons took a toll and he retreated as rock music changed to more harder fare. The 70's pretty much left Roy behind, but he did re-emerge in 1980 with a duet with Emmylou Harris, "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again", from the Meat Loaf film Roadie, which reached the top ten on the country and easy listening charts (and #55 pop) and earned him a Grammy for best country duo/group performance. Another movie collaboration, the sublime re-do of his own 1961 hit "Crying" with k.d. lang from Hiding Out, landed at #28 on the adult contemporary chart and #42 country in 1987, but the exposure really belied its chart position (and also gave his another Grammy for country collab). That same year, Roy was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, further proving his artistic legacy. While he was preparing to record a new solo album with Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne, he ended up taking part in the rock "supergroup" project The Traveling Wilburys, which produced a top-3 album and almost top-40 hit with "Handle With Care". Orbison also finished his solo set Mystery Girl, which would end up being released two months after his death from a heart attack in December 1988. The first single, "You Got It", written by Roy with Lynne and fellow "Wilbury" Tom Petty, sparked a wave of nostalgia for the man gone way too soon at the age of 52...
"You Got It" became Orbison's ninth and final top ten pop hit in the U.S. in April of 1989. The single also made it to #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, and even crossed over to #7 on their Country Singles chart. Internationally, the record went to #1 in Canada and top-10 in the UK (#3), Ireland and the Netherlands. It would be nominated as well for a Grammy for Rock Performance.
Two more singles would come from Mystery Girl, with "California Blue" reaching the AC (#44) and Country (#51) charts, while the solemn "She's A Mystery To Me" made it to #23 on the Adult Contemporary list. In 1992, an album of outtakes with Lynne, King Of Hearts, earned Roy a posthumous top-10 hit in the UK with his version of Cyndi Lauper's "I Drove All Night", and a top-40 follow-up with "Heartbreak Radio" (his k.d. lang assisted "Crying" also reached #13 in the UK at that time). In 1998, the Grammys honored him with a Lifetime Achievement award. But even besides that, Orbison stood out like no other solo male rock performer of the 60s, with a voice that went back to the heavens from whence it came.
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In 1995, blues-rock giant Bonnie Raitt covered "You Got It" for the movie Boys On The Side, and went to #33 on the pop chart, and #6 on the adult contemporary radio list...
..and finally, here's Roy, only a couple of weeks before his passing, performing live in Belgium...
Up tomorrow: Swedish duo is in fashion.