Spotlight Artist: Roy Orbison

Every weekday between 1 and 5pm we play tracks from our #spotlightartist. They’re an artist with a body of work which has stood the test of time. We’ll play the hits – but also some deep cuts. Listen ad-free through New Zealand via @tunein at

The “Big O”, Roy Orbison is a musical legend. Born in Texas, he began singing in a rockabilly band in high school. He was signed by the legendary Sam Phillips (of Elvis fame) in 1956 but achieved his first wave of success with Monument Records beginning in 1960. He had writing credit of many of the singles in this era that hit the top 10 including “Only the Lonely”, “Crying”, “Running Scared”, “In Dreams” and “Oh, Pretty Woman”. Roy Orbison: The Monument Singles Collection is a great compilation to access this era.

Following the tragic loss of his wife, Orbison’s tour went into decline until the 1980s when cover versions of his song re-ignited interest. In 1988 he co-founded the Travelling Wilburys supergroup with Tom Petty, Jeff Lynn, George Harrison and Bob Dylan to great acclaim. Tragically he died of a heart attack in December 1988. One month later “You Got It” hit the top 10, the first time a solo Orbison song had achieved this for 25 years.

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