Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis is an American singer-songwriter and pianist, often known by his nickname, The Killer. He has been described as rock & rolls first great wild man, a pioneer of rock and roll and rockabilly music, Lewis made his first recordings in 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis. Crazy Arms sold 300,000 copies in the South, and he followed this with Great Balls of Fire and High School Confidential. However, Lewiss rock and roll career faltered in the wake of his marriage to his 13-year-old first cousin once removed when he was 23 years old and he had minimal success in the charts following the scandal, and his popularity quickly eroded. His live performance fees plummeted from $10,000 per night to $250, in the meantime he was determined to gain back some of his popularity. In the early 1960s, he did not have much success, with few exceptions. His live performances at this time were increasingly wild and energetic and his 1964 live album Live at the Star Club, Hamburg is regarded by music journalists and fans as one of the wildest and greatest live rock albums ever.
In 1968 Lewis made a transition into country music and had hits with such as Another Place. His No.1 country hits included To Make Love Sweeter for You, There Must Be More to Love Than This, Would You Take Another Chance on Me and Me and Bobby McGee. Lewiss successes continued throughout the decade and he embraced his rock and roll past with songs such as a cover of the Big Boppers Chantilly Lace, in the 21st century Lewis continues to tour around the world and still releases new albums. His album Last Man Standing is his best selling to date and this was followed by Mean Old Man, which has received some of the best sales of Lewiss career. Lewis has a dozen gold records in rock and country. He won several Grammy awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, Lewis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and his pioneering contribution to the genre has been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He was a member of the inaugural class inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, in 1989, his life was chronicled in the movie Great Balls of Fire, starring Dennis Quaid.
In 2003, Rolling Stone listed his box set All Killer, No Filler, in 2004, they ranked him number 24 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Lewis is the last surviving member of Sun Records Million Dollar Quartet and the Class of 55 album and his parents mortgaged their farm to buy him a piano. Lewis was influenced by an older cousin, Carl McVoy, the radio, and the sounds from Haneys Big House. On the live album By Request, More of the Greatest Live Show on Earth and he was influenced by the Great American Songbook and popular country singers like Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams
RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, Inc. It is one of SMEs three flagship labels, alongside Columbia Records and Epic Records. The label has released multiple genres of music, including pop, hip hop, R&B, jazz, the companys name is derived from the initials of the labels former parent company, the Radio Corporation of America. It is the second oldest recording company in US history, after sister label Columbia Records, RCAs Canadian unit is Sonys oldest label in Canada. It was one of only two Canadian record companies to survive the Great Depression, Enrique Iglesias, Foo Fighters, Kings of Leon, Miley Cyrus, Giorgio Moroder, Jennifer Hudson, DAngelo, Tinashe, G-Eazy, Pitbull and Wizkid. In 1929, the Radio Corporation of America purchased the Victor Talking Machine Company, the worlds largest manufacturer of phonographs and phonograph records. The company became RCA Victor but retained use of the Victor Records name on their labels until the beginning of 1946 when the labels were finally switched over to RCA Victor.
With Victor, RCA acquired New World rights to the famous Nipper His Masters Voice trademark, in Shanghai, China, in 1931, RCA Victors British affiliate the Gramophone Company merged with the Columbia Graphophone Company to form EMI. This gave RCA head David Sarnoff a seat on the EMI board, in September 1931, RCA Victor introduced the first 33⅓ rpm records sold to the public, calling them Program Transcriptions. In the depths of the Great Depression, the format was a commercial failure, during the early part of the depression, RCA made a number of attempts to produce a successful cheap label to compete with the dime store labels. The first was the short-lived Timely Tunes label in 1931 sold at Montgomery Ward, in 1932, Bluebird Records was created as a sub-label of RCA Victor. It was originally an 8-inch record with a blue label. In 1933, RCA reintroduced Bluebird and Electradisk as a standard 10-inch label, another cheap label, was produced. The same musical couplings were issued on all three labels and Bluebird Records still survives eight decades after Electradisk and Sunrise were discontinued, RCA produced records for Montgomery Ward label during the 1930s.
Besides manufacturing records for themselves, RCA Victor operated RCA Custom which was the leading record manufacturer for independent record labels, RCA Custom pressed record compilations for The Readers Digest Association. RCA sold its interest in EMI in 1935, but EMI continued to distribute RCA recordings in the UK, RCA manufactured and distributed HMV classical recordings on the RCA and HMV labels in North America. During World War II, ties between RCA and its Japanese affiliate JVC were severed, the Japanese record company is today called Victor Entertainment and is still a JVC subsidiary. From 1942 to 1944, RCA Victor was seriously impacted by the American Federation of Musicians recording ban, virtually all union musicians could not make recordings during that period
Thomas, Jr. was an American rhythm-and-blues, funk and blues singer, dancer, DJ and comic entertainer from Memphis, Tennessee. He recorded for labels, including Chess Records and Sun Records in the 1950s. He is best known for his novelty dance records, including Walking the Dog, Do the Funky Chicken and Push and Pull. According to the Mississippi Blues Commission, Rufus Thomas embodied the spirit of Memphis music perhaps more than any other artist, occupied many important roles in the local scene. He began his career as a tap dancer, vaudeville performer and he worked as a disc jockey on radio station WDIA in Memphis, both before and after his recordings became successful. He remained active into the 1990s, and as a performer and he was the father of the singers Carla Thomas and Vaneese Thomas and the keyboard player Marvell Thomas. Thomas was born in the community of Cayce, Mississippi. He moved with his family to Memphis, around 1920 and his mother was a church woman. Thomas made his debut as a performer at the age of six, by the age of 10, he was a tap dancer, performing on the streets and in amateur productions at Booker T.
Washington High School, in Memphis. From the age of 13, he worked with Nat D, after graduating from high school, Thomas attended Tennessee A&I University for one semester, but economic constraints led him to leave to pursue a career as a full-time entertainer. Thomas began performing in traveling tent shows, in 1936 he joined the Rabbit Foot Minstrels, an all-black revue that toured the South, as a tap dancer and comedian, sometimes part of a duo and Johnny. He married Cornelia Lorene Wilson in 1940, at a service officiated by Aretha Franklins father, Rev. C. L. Franklin, Thomas worked a day job in the American Finishing Company textile bleaching plant, which he continued to do for over 20 years. He formed a comedy and dancing duo and Bones, with Robert Bones Couch, one early winner was B. B. King, and others first discovered by Thomas in the 1940s included Bobby Bland, in the early 1940s, Thomas began writing and performing his own songs. He regarded Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller and Gatemouth Moore as his musical influences, as an established performer in Memphis, aged 33 in 1950, Thomas recorded his first 78 rpm single, for Jesse Ericksons small Star Talent label in Dallas, Texas.
Thomas said, I just wanted to make a record, I never thought of getting rich. I just wanted to be known, be a recording artist, the record sold five copies and I bought four of them. The record, Ill Be a Good Boy/Im So Worried, gained a Billboard review stating, in 1951 he made his first recordings at Sam Phillips Sun Studio, for the Chess label, but they were not commercially successful
Jack Henderson Clement was an American singer and record and film producer. Raised and educated in Memphis, Clement was performing at an age, playing guitar. Before embarking on a career in music, he served in the United States Marines, nicknamed Cowboy Jack Clement, during his student days, he played steel guitar with a local band. In 1956 he was part of one of the events in rock. There, Clement worked with stars such as Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins. Most importantly, he discovered and recorded Jerry Lee Lewis while Sam Phillips was away on a trip to Florida, one of those recordings, Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On, was selected in 2005 for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress. In 1957, Clement wrote the song Ballad of a Teenage Queen and he produced Cashs number 1 hit Ring of Fire in 1963. Clement performed Guess Things Happen That Way on the Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute show on CMT in November 2003, in 1958 Clement released the single Ten Years, which was covered by Johnny Western, Rex Allen and Roger Mews.
In 1959, Clement accepted an offer to work as a producer at RCA in Nashville, in 1961, he moved to Beaumont, joining the producer and publisher Bill Hall in opening Gulf Coast Recording Studio and the Hall-Clement publishing company. In 1971, he co-founded the J-M-I Record Company and he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973. He produced albums by Townes Van Zandt and Waylon Jennings, Clement was involved in a few film projects as a singer or songwriter of soundtracks. He produced the 1975 horror film Dear Dead Delilah, the last film performance by the actress Agnes Moorehead, in 1987, Clement was approached by U2 to record at Sun Studio in Memphis. He had never heard of U2 but took the session upon the urging of someone in his office, portions of the two sessions appear in the film Rattle and Hum. Clement hosted a program on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. He was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Music City Walk of Fame, on June 25,2011, a fire destroyed his home and studio on Belmont Boulevard in Nashville.
Clement was unhurt, but many priceless recordings and memorabilia were lost, on April 10,2013, it was announced Clement would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. On August 8,2013, Clement died at his home in Nashville and he had suffered from liver cancer. He had two children, a daughter, Alison, a singer and writer, and a son, Niles, an engineer and photographer
Million Dollar Quartet
An article about the session was published in the Memphis Press-Scimitar under the title Million Dollar Quartet. The recording was first released in Europe in 1981 as The Million Dollar Quartet with 17 tracks, a few years more tracks were discovered and released as The Complete Million Dollar Session. In 1990, the recordings were released in the United States as Elvis Presley - The Million Dollar Quartet and this session is considered a seminal moment in rock and roll history. The jam session seems to have happened by pure chance, lewiss first Sun single would be released a few days later. Sometime in the afternoon, 21-year-old Elvis Presley, a former Sun artist now with RCA Victor, arrived to pay a casual visit accompanied by a girlfriend. After chatting with Phillips in the room, Presley listened to the playback of Perkins’ session. Then he went into the studio and some later, the jam session began. At some point during the session, Sun artist Johnny Cash, jack Clement was engineering that day and remembers saying to himself I think Id be remiss not to record this, and so he did.
After running through a number of songs and girlfriend Evans slipped out as Jerry Lee pounded away on the piano, Cash wrote in Cash that no one wanted to follow Jerry Lee, not even Elvis. During the session, Phillips called a newspaper, the Memphis Press-Scimitar. Bob Johnson, the entertainment editor, came over to the studios with UPI representative Leo Sora with photographer George Pierce. Johnson wrote an article about the session, which appeared the day in the Press-Scimitar under the headline Million Dollar Quartet. The article contained the now-famous photograph of Presley seated at the piano surrounded by Lewis, Perkins, in 1969, Shelby Singleton bought Sun Records. He began a search of the Sun catalogue, browsing through more than 10,000 hours of tape. At the same time, Singleton licensed much, if not all, as a result of Singleton’s and Charlys searches, a portion of the session came to light. This was issued in Europe in 1981 as Charly/Sun LP #1006 The Million Dollar Quartet, several years later, additional material was discovered.
This resulted in the release of the 1987 Charly/Sun 2-LP set #CDX20 The Complete Million Dollar Session, a 2006 50th-anniversary issue of the session was released on RCA, containing approximately twelve minutes of previously unavailable material and placing the titles in the original recorded sequence. The source of the recording was a copy of the owned by Elvis Presley
Million Dollar Quartet (musical)
Million Dollar Quartet is a jukebox musical written by Floyd Mutrux and Colin Escott. It dramatizes the Million Dollar Quartet recording session of December 4,1956, among early Rock and roll stars Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins, the musical opened on Broadway in 2010, after several tryouts and regional productions, and spawned a 2011 West End production. The musical had a run at Chicagos Goodman Theatre, opening on September 27,2008. Mutrux co-directed the Chicago production with Eric D. Schaeffer, Artistic Director of Virginias Signature Theatre, the show transferred to Chicagos Apollo Theater where it opened on October 31,2008. It celebrated its 2500th performance on September 20,2014, the show closed on January 17 and ranked as the third-longest running show, in terms of calendar span, in Chicago Theatre history. The cast featured David Lago as Elvis Presley, Gabe Bowling as Carl Perkins, Sean Sullivan as Johnny Cash, the original Broadway cast included Corey Kaiser as Jay Perkins on bass and Larry Lelli as Fluke the drummer.
Again directed by Eric Schaeffer, the design is by Derek McLane, costume design is by Jane Greenwood. The musical was nominated for three 2010 Tony Awards, Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Levi Kreis, Kreis won the award for Best Featured Actor for his portrayal of Jerry Lee Lewis. The original cast recording was released in 2010, the musical closed on June 12,2011 after having played 489 performances and 34 previews. The production opened Off-Broadway at the New World Stages in July 2011, Million Dollar Quartet, The Musical opened in the West End at the Noël Coward Theatre on February 28,2011, with previews from February 8. This production is directed by Schaeffer with orchestrations and arrangements by Chuck Mead. The show closed in London on January 14,2012, having previously been booking until October 27,2012, the musical transferred to New World Stages in July 2011. The cast for Million Dollar Quartet at New World Stages features Eric Stang, Eddie Clendening, Lance Guest, Robert Britton Lyons, Victoria Matlock, James Moye, Corey Kaiser, the production closed on June 24,2012.
A United States national tour of the began in October 2011 at the Palace Theater at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. The national tour will hit Appleton Fox Cities, Miami, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Jose, and many more. The Million Dollar Quartet original Canadian cast premieres at the Chemainus Theatre Festival on February 12,2016 and it runs through March 26th,2016. On December 4,1956, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley assemble at the Sun Record recording studio in Memphis, established performer Carl Perkins was to record songs with a new performer, Jerry Lee Lewis. Elvis Presley stops by the studio along with his girlfriend, a singer named Dyanne, Johnny Cash has stopped by to talk to recording impresario Sam Philips
Red Bird Records
Red Bird Records was a record label founded by American pop music songwriters Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller, and George Goldner in 1964. Though often thought of as a label, female-led acts made up only 40% of the artist roster on Red Bird. However, female-led acts accounted for more than 90% of the labels charting records. The labels first release was Chapel of Love by the Dixie Cups, which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Eleven of the first 30 singles released by Red Bird reached the Top Forty and they used the skillful Brill Building husband-and-wife songwriting team of Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich, who had been writing most of Phil Spectors first hits. Leiber and Stoller sold Red Bird to Goldner for one dollar, Goldner sold the Red Bird catalogue to raise money. A subsidiary label, Blue Cat Records, had a hit with The Boy from New York City by The Ad Libs
Elvis Aaron Presley was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is referred to as the King of Rock and Roll. Presley was born in Tupelo and relocated to Memphis and his music career began there in 1954, when he recorded a song with producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Accompanied by guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, Presley was a popularizer of rockabilly. RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, Presleys first RCA single, Heartbreak Hotel, was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit in the United States. He was regarded as the figure of rock and roll after a series of successful network television appearances. In November 1956, Presley made his debut in Love Me Tender. In 1958, he was drafted into military service, in 1973, Presley featured in the first globally broadcast concert via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii. Several years of drug abuse severely damaged his health.
Presley is one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century and he won three Grammys, receiving the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame. Presley was born on January 8,1935, in Tupelo, Mississippi, to Gladys Love and Vernon Elvis Presley, Jesse Garon Presley, his identical twin brother, was delivered stillborn 35 minutes before his own birth. Thus, as a child, Presley became close to both parents and formed an especially close bond with his mother. The family attended an Assembly of God, where he found his musical inspiration. Although he was in conflict with the Pentecostal church in his years, rev. Rex Humbard officiated at his funeral, as Presley had been an admirer of Humbards ministry. Presleys ancestry was primarily a Western European mix, including Scots-Irish, German, gladyss great-great-grandmother, Morning Dove White, was possibly a Cherokee Native American. Gladys was regarded by relatives and friends as the dominant member of the small family, Vernon moved from one odd job to the next, evincing little ambition.
The family often relied on help from neighbors and government food assistance, the Presleys survived the F5 tornado in the 1936 Tupelo–Gainesville tornado outbreak. In 1938, they lost their home after Vernon was found guilty of kiting a check written by the landowner, Orville S. Bean and he was jailed for eight months, and Gladys and Elvis moved in with relatives
Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music, dating back to the early 1950s in the United States, especially the South. As a genre it blends the sound of Western musical styles such as country with that of rhythm and blues, leading to what is considered classic rock, some have described it as a blend of bluegrass with rock and roll. The term rockabilly itself is a portmanteau of rock and hillbilly, other important influences on rockabilly include western swing, boogie woogie, jump blues, and electric blues. An interest in the genre endures even in the 21st century, Rockabilly has left a legacy, spawning a variety of sub-styles and influencing other genres such as punk rock. There was a relationship between blues and country music from the very earliest country recordings in the 1920s. The first nationwide country hit was Wreck of the Old 97, backed with Lonesome Road Blues, during the 1930s and 1940s, two new sounds emerged. Recordings of Willss from the mid 1940s to the early 1950s include two beat jazz rhythms, jazz choruses, and guitar work that preceded early rockabilly recordings, wills is quoted as saying Rock and Roll.
Why, thats the kind of music weve been playin since 1928. But its just basic rhythm and has gone by a lot of different names in my time and its the same, whether you just follow a drum beat like in Africa or surround it with a lot of instruments. The Maddox Brothers and Rose were at the edge of rockabilly with the slapped bass that Fred Maddox had developed. Maddox said, Youve got to have somethin they can tap their foot, or dance to, after World War II the band shifted into higher gear leaning more toward a whimsical honky-tonk feel, with a heavy, manic bottom end - the slap bass of Fred Maddox. They played hillbilly music but it sounded real hot and they played real loud for that time, too. The Maddoxes were known for their antics and stuff. I mean it just wasnt us up there pickin and singing, there was something going on all the time. The demonstrative Maddoxes, helped release white bodies from traditional motions of decorum and more younger white artists began to behave on stage like the lively Maddoxes.
Others believe that they were not only at the leading edge, Bill Monroe is known as the Father of Bluegrass, a specific style of country music. Many of his songs were in form, while others took the form of folk ballads, parlor songs. Bluegrass was a staple of music in the early 1950s
Roy Kelton Orbison, nicknamed the Big O, was an American singer-songwriter and musician, known for his distinctive, impassioned voice, complex compositions and dark emotional ballads. The combination led many critics to describe his music as operatic, between 1960 and 1964,22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top 40, including Only the Lonely, and Oh, Pretty Woman. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly and country and he was signed by Sun Records in 1956, but his greatest success came with Monument Records in the early 1960s. His career stagnated in the 1970s, but was revived by several versions of his songs. In 1988, he was a member of the Traveling Wilburys supergroup, along with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and he recorded his last solo album, Mystery Girl, the same year but died of a heart attack shortly thereafter. While most male rock and roll performers in the 1950s and 1960s projected a defiant masculinity, many of Orbisons songs instead conveyed a quiet, almost desperate and his voice ranged from baritone to tenor, and music scholars have suggested that he had a three- or four-octave range.
During performances, he was known for standing still and solitary, and for wearing black clothes and dark sunglasses, which lent an air of mystery to his persona. His honors include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in the year. Rolling Stone placed him at number 37 on their list of the Greatest Artists of All Time, in 2002, Billboard magazine listed Orbison at number 74 in the Top 600 recording artists. Roy Kelton Orbison was born in Vernon, the son of Orbie Lee Orbison, an oil well driller and car mechanic, and Nadine Vesta Shults. Both of his parents were unemployed during the Great Depression and, searching for work, moved the family to Fort Worth, Texas and he attended Denver Avenue Elementary School until a polio scare prompted the family to return to Vernon. Later, they moved to Wink, Orbison described life in Wink as football, oil fields, oil and sand and expressed relief that he was able to leave the desolate town. All the Orbison children were afflicted with poor eyesight, Roy used thick corrective lenses from an early age and he was not confident about his appearance and began dyeing his nearly-white hair black when he was still young.
He was quiet and self-effacing, remarkably polite and obliging — a product, biographer Alan Clayson wrote and he was readily available to sing and often became the focus of attention when he did. He considered his voice memorable, if not great, on Roys sixth birthday, his father gave him a guitar. He recalled that by the age of seven, I was finished, you know, for anything else and his major musical influence as a youth was country music. He was particularly moved by Lefty Frizzells singing, with its slurred syllables and he enjoyed Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers. One of the first musicians he heard in person was Ernest Tubb, in West Texas, he was exposed to many forms of music, Tex-Mex, the orchestral arrangements of Mantovani and cajun
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U. S. state of Tennessee and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the fourth Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf, Memphis had a population of 653,450 in 2013, making it the largest city in the state of Tennessee. It is the largest city on the Mississippi River, the third largest in the greater Southeastern United States, the greater Memphis metropolitan area, including adjacent counties in Mississippi and Arkansas, had a 2014 population of 1,317,314. This makes Memphis the second-largest metropolitan area in Tennessee, surpassed by metropolitan Nashville, Memphis is the youngest of Tennessees major cities, founded in 1819 as a planned city by a group of wealthy Americans including judge John Overton and future president Andrew Jackson. A resident of Memphis is referred to as a Memphian, and the Memphis region is known, particularly to media outlets, as Memphis and the Mid-South. Occupying a substantial bluff rising from the Mississippi River, the site of Memphis has been a location for human settlement by varying cultures over thousands of years.
The historic Chickasaw Indian tribe, believed to be their descendants, French explorers led by René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle and Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto would encounter the Chickasaw in that area, in the 16th century. J. D. L. Chickasaw Bluffs, located on the Mississippi River at the present day location of Memphis and the United States vied for control of this site, which was a favorite of the Chickasaws. The United States gained the right to navigate the Mississippi River, the Spanish dismantled the fort, shipping its lumber and iron to their locations in Arkansas. Captain Isaac Guion led an American force down the Ohio River to claim the land, by this time, the Spanish had departed. The forts ruins went unnoticed twenty years when Memphis was laid out as a city, the city of Memphis was founded on May 22,1819 by John Overton, James Winchester and Andrew Jackson. They named it after the ancient capital of Egypt on the Nile River, Memphis developed as a trade and transportation center in the 19th century because of its flood-free location high above the Mississippi River.
Located in the delta region along the river, its outlying areas were developed as cotton plantations. The cotton economy of the antebellum South depended on the labor of large numbers of African-American slaves. Through the early 19th century, one million slaves were transported from the Upper South, Many were transported by steamboats along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. This gave planters and cotton brokers access to the Atlantic Coast for shipping cotton to England, the citys demographics changed dramatically in the 1850s and 1860s under waves of immigration and domestic migration. Due to increased immigration since the 1840s and the Great Famine, ethnic Irish made up 9.9 percent of the population in 1850, but 23.2 percent in 1860, when the total population was 22,623. They had encountered considerable discrimination in the city but by 1860 and they gained many elected and patronage positions in the Democratic Party city government, and an Irish man was elected as mayor before the Civil War
Roy Orbison's Sun Recordings
Roy Orbisons Sun Recordings were made by Roy Orbison at Sun Studio with producer Sam Phillips. The musicians signed at Sun Records made music that laid the foundation of rock, Roy Kelton Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas, on April 23,1936, and he grew up in Wink, Texas. His parents Orbie Lee and Nadine, gave him a guitar for his sixth birthday, Roy Orbison grew up around country music and stated it was a great influence to him. “I grew up with music in Texas. The first singer I heard on the radio who really slayed me was Lefty Frizzell. He had this technique which involved sliding syllables together that really blew me away. ”By the time Orbison was eight years old he was performing on radio shows. The Wink Westerners obtained local notoriety and performed mainly country and pop songs and he began singing and playing guitar professionally in his teens with the band the Wink Westerners. The Wink Westerners had a television show for them on KMID-TV. Roy Orbison attended North Texas University after high school, and it was there where he discovered rock and roll and began to write more pop oriented songs.
Orbison stayed at North Texas for only a year stating he felt like he was in the place at the wrong time. ”He left and moved to Odessa. The Teen Kings consisted of Roy Orbison, James Marrow, Jack Kennelly, Billy Pat Ellis, the Teen Kings got a job on a local television show where they recorded “Ooby Dooby” for a local label. Ooby Dooby did well nationwide, reaching #59 on the Billboards Hot 100, shortly after the release of Ooby Dooby the Teen Kings disbanded, and Orbison remained under contract to Sun as a solo artist. Orbison continued recording using the Sun house musicians, not unlike several other artists at Sun, Roy Orbison was unhappy with the direction Sam Phillips was taking. Orbison noted that he wasnt quite comfortable with rockabilly but stated he enjoyed the freedom in the studio came with being a Sun artist. Sun’s musical director Bill Justice gave Orbison the song “Chicken Hearted. ”Released in December 1957, shortly after the failure of Chicken Hearted, Orbison moved back to Texas with his first wife Claudette Frady.
Sam Phillips stated having regret in not promoting Orbison more than he did, Orbison began to question rather or not he still wanted to be a performer and began to focus more on writing. As a writer, Orbison scored a Hot 100 hit for Warren Smith with So Long Im Gone, renaming the track Down The Line. The greatest writing success Orbison had was due to The Everly Brothers recording the song Claudette, the success of Claudette gave Orbison enough money to buy himself out of his contract at Sun and he signed over all of his copyrights in exception to Claudette