Singer/songwriter Roy Orbison grew up in Vernon, Texas, born to unemployed parents during the Great Depression. All the Orbison children were born with poor eyesight with Roy being born nearly blind. He was forced used thick corrective lenses at early age. His father bought him a guitar for his sixth birthday and he quickly decided on music as his career. At age 8, he appeared on a local radio show and by the 1940's, he was the host.
He formed a band in college called the Teen Kings. Orbison met Johnny Cash, and at Cash's suggestion, he met up with legendary producer Sam Phillips from Sun Records. The band eventually split with Orbison continuing as a solo act. He was met with little success and eventually quit recording and touring for several months.
He began to study songs on the Top 40 and wrote "Only the Lonely", which he tried to sell to Elvis Presley and The Everly Brothers but both turned him down. He recorded the song himself and it became a huge hit, landing at the #2 spot on the charts. He was suddenly in demand, appearing on American Bandstand and began a tour with Patsy Cline.
He soon released the song "Running Scared" and "Crying", both becoming popular hits. "Oh, Pretty Woman" became the pinnacle of his career in the 1960's. But Orbison fell out of favor in the 70's and it wasn't until other recording artists, such as Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Don McLean and others covered his songs that his career was revived.
By 1987, he was in full swing, releasing an album of re-recorded hits titled In Dreams: The Greatest Hits and performed a duet of "Crying" with k.d. Lang, which won a Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. He was soon inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He joined George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan in The Traveling Wilburys and continued to ride his wave of fame with the release of the 1989 album, Mystery Girl. While on a break from promoting his new album, Orbison suffered a massive heart attack He died at age 52.
You can learn more about Roy Orbison on his official website and purchase his music here.