The Big O in Britain

Synopsis: Roy Orbison was the best singer in the world. That's what Elvis Presley said, and he should know. Marking the twentieth anniversary of the death of 'The Big O', this film celebrates both Orbison's extraordinary talent and his relationship with his most loyal and enduring fans: British musicians and the British public.
Genre: Documentary
59 min

# Only the lonely... #

People that are completely unique, you don't so much admire them as marvel at them.

# Only the lonely... #

I was sitting in the living room with my mum and my auntie and he came on the radio.

What a voice, yeah, fantastic. I always liked his stuff, bought his records.

My mum and my auntie were going, "Oh, he's too sexy!"

# I remember that you said

# Goodbye... #

All of us in studying the craft of making a good record

had studied Roy's work.

In many ways, my whole life has been fashioned subconsciously by him.

The way he was and the way he sang made him dead cool.

Pretty difficult to find in Glasgow, when you look about shops and want a pair of roll-ups and sunglasses.

# Golden days before they end... #

I think Roy and England had a love affair. I mean, Roy loved the British and the British loved Roy.


INTRO TO "Pretty Woman"

# Pretty woman, walkin' down the street... #

By the 1980s, Roy Orbison's status as a living legend was well and truly confirmed

when some big names in music queued up to be in the backing band for his Black And White Night concert.

Roy and I talked about doing a show that would be a performance show for Roy.

So we set a time finally,

September 1987.

# I couldn't help but see, pretty woman... #

It had been a while since people had focused on Roy's music in this way.

A lot of care was taken to do the songs justice, as the show does.

# W-w-wow... #

I'm being asked all the time how this wonderful cast came together.

Everybody just seemed to be available at that particular time.

If we had done it a month before or later, I don't think everybody could have been there.

I don't think the entire ensemble was put together until we were all on the set at the Coconut Grove.

'I know Bruce Springsteen arrived at the very last minute.'

- How did you end there?

- 'My big memory of that night'

was Bruce arriving for the sound check and then realising

that his memory of the songs was not the same as the ability to play them.

- # Sweet dream, baby... #

- And then you go...

# Sweet dream... #

'When he looked at the charts and realised there were odd counts in some of the songs...'

I have an image of him sitting with his guitar with the head... like a cassette Walkman,

comparing what he had obviously memorised over a couple of decades since the records came out

to what was written on the page and closing the distance between the two things to play on these songs.

It's the measure of how much he loved Roy cos he was really dedicated.

# Sweet dreams, baby

# Oh, how long must I dream? #


# Sweet dreams, baby... #

Orbison clearly inspired anyone who was anyone in music, but where did all the raw talent come from?

Born in 1936 in the small town of Vernon, Texas,

from an early age, Roy was single-minded in his pursuit of a career in music.

My mom and dad gave me a guitar when I was six years old.

I always wanted to be a singer. My father asked me, when I was about six or seven,

maybe even earlier, I don't know if I was playing the guitar or not,

but he said, "What will you be when you grow up?" I said, "A singer."

I was able to get on a radio show when I was eight years old.

An "Amateur Hour", and I showed up so often that they made me a part of the show.

When I was 14, I think, I had moved to West Texas. And I formed a group.

We were from Wink, Texas, so we were The Wink Westerners.

When we got more popular, we became The Teen Kings.

# We'll hang out and raise some fun We'll stay out till after one... #

I met him the first time in Odessa, Texas. He had a group that played on TV there and the song was Ooby Dooby.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "The Big O in Britain" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 1 Oct. 2020. <>.

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