Friday, March 11, 2022

"You Got It" by Roy Orbison

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3774
Date:  01/21/1989
Debut:  85
Peak:  9
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The 70s were a period of struggle for legendary hitmaker Roy Orbison. His albums failed to sell and it seemed that his career was on the verge of fading away. Things started to perk up a bit when Linda Ronstadt covered Orbison's 1963 #29 "Blue Bayou" and took it to #3. The hit brought Orbison's name back to light and it increased from there with other artists having hits with his classics (Don McLean's "Crying," #5, 1981, and Van Halen's "Oh, Pretty Woman," #12, 1982). Orbison would win a Grammy along the way for his duet with Emmylou Harris on "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again." A couple of soundtrack songs would follow including a Grammy-winning duet with k.d. lang on "Crying," followed by an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With his career on a major upswing, Orbison was ready to record an album of new material. He got hooked up with ELO frontman Jeff Lynne who was coming off of working on George Harrision's hit LP Cloud Nine. It was at a session with Harrison for an additional b-side song that The Traveling Wilbury's were formed with Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan. The group would quickly do an album that ended up a #3 hit, which further boosted Orbison's star. Lynne and Orbison finally finished off the album Mystery Girl in November of '88. Unfortunately, while on a break from performing, Orbison unexpectedly died of a heart attack at his mother's home. Since the album was finished, the label (Virgin) decided to go ahead and release it. This single, written by Orbison, Lynne, and Petty, was issued out first. It would become a big hit reaching #1 AC, #2 Rock, #7 Country, and #9 Pop. It was Orbison's first Pop Top 10 since his 1964 #1 classic "Oh, Pretty Woman." In turn, the album would become his first solo effort to reach the Top 10 (#5) and go platinum. The song would also earn Orbison a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male. It was a bittersweet cap on the career of the legendary artist who had nine Top 10 hits to his name.

ReduxReview:  It would have been interesting to know how well this song would have done had Orbison not died. I want to believe it still would have gone Top 10. It certainly should have. The tune did a great job of taking Orbison's 60s sound and filtering it through 80s production and arrangement. Frankly, I think it would have been a huge hit in the 60s and the fact that it still sounded fresh and relevant in the 80s was a true testament to Orbison's talent and Lynne's lovingly crafted production. I think I love and appreciate this song even more now than I did when it first came out. The album was also excellent and I hope it drove younger listeners to dive into Orbison's catalog, which is chock full of great songs. Orbison's voice was absolutely one of a kind and he was a master at eking out every drop of emotion out of a lyric. Any youngsters out there who have their sights on a singing career? This is how you do it. Two words - study Orbison.


Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) Mystery Girl not only featured Orbison's Traveling Wilbury cohorts Lynne and Petty, but also involved was U2's Bono. In the summer of '87, Bono wrote the basics of a song one morning after listening to the soundtrack to the film Blue Velvet, which featured Orbison's 1963 #7 hit "In Dreams." Later that evening, the band performed a show at London's Wembley Arena. After the show, they got a surprise visit from Orbison. Bono ended up playing his new song for Orbison who really liked it. With Orbison ready to record a new album, plans were made for Orbison to record the song with Bono producing. "She's a Mystery Girl" would be the second single from Orbison's album. While it would not make the Pop chart, it did get to #23 AC and #26 Rock.  2) Orbison's second wind career sadly hit its peak after his death. At one point, the Traveling Wilbury's album was at #3 while Orbison's solo LP was at #5. It was only the second time an artist posthumously had two albums in the Top 5 simultaneously. The first artist to do that was Elvis Presley.  3) In September of '87, Orbison filmed a TV special for HBO titled Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night. It featured the new inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member performing some of his most famous song backed by a slew of top artists including Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and k.d. lang. The show was successful and the video release of it would go gold. Following Orbison's death, Virgin Records would collect many of the songs from the show together on an album and release it as A Black and White Night Live. The collection was critically well-received, but it would only reach #123 on the chart.


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