More fantasy GOOD!: Interview ‘realing’ Roy Orbison
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A “Co-laughrative Commemorative”
John Bishoff and Ron Holm (Between Planes, Emery Christiansen), Rockford veteran performers and composers, recently interviewed Roy Orbison in a séance conducted at an undisclosed location.
Bishoff: Good evening, Roy. Can you hear me? I’m here with Ron Holm, and we were in a band in the ’80s called Emery Christiansen. We opened for you in 1982 at Rockford’s MetroCentre.
Holm: And now John and I and some great players are doing a concert of your music at Just Goods, 201 Seventh St., at 7 p.m., Saturday April 7. There’s no cover charge (815-965-8903). Can you be there?
Orbison: (Sings) “In dreams, I walk with you.”
Holm: I guess you’ll be there in spirit. Your first minor hit was “Ooby Dooby,” for Sun Records. Do you ever listen to that song?
Orbison: I hum it occasionally, but we don’t have any record players up here.
Bishoff: Actually, we don’t have many record players down here anymore, either. It’s been CDs for years, and now it’s Internet downloading and streaming music from Cloud Services.
Orbison: Oh, yeah? Well, we definitely got Cloud Services up here, too.
Bishoff: I really liked that song, “Claudette” on the backside of the Everly Brothers’ “All I Have to do is Dream.”
Orbison: Yeah. That was my first big break. I wrote it for this girl I had a crush on named Claudette Frady. The Everlys were so hot that my song actually went to No. 30. I got a hit record, and by the way, I also got the girl. I married her and bought her a Cadillac.
Holm: But then, you got your own hit song.
Orbison: Well, that was “Only the Lonely.” I broke from the Sun label and signed with Monument Records. I had this idea to make ballads like short operas, with violins and backup singers. That record went to No. 2 in the States, but it was a No. 1 smash in England. They loved it so much, they asked me to come over to their country and do some concerts. They put me on the stage with some kids calling themselves the Beatles.
Bishoff: And the rest, as they say, is history.
Orbison: Yeah. I went on first and got so much applause those Beatles pulled me off the stage! (laughs) But then, they went on to write a ballad in my style called, “Please, Please Me.” When George Martin, their producer, heard it, he told them to speed it up. I guess that did the trick!
Holm: I sure would like to have heard how it sounded when they did it your way.
Bishoff: Hey, let’s play it in Roy’s style at our upcoming show!
Orbison: That’s something I’d like to hear myself.
Bishoff: Done! Of course, then you went on to have a huge string of hit records. “Candy Man,” “Oh Pretty Woman,” “Sweet Dream Baby,” “In Dreams.” I noticed that lots of your songs are about dreaming.
Orbison: Well, I did a lot of dreaming when I was young. I was a beady-eyed scrawny kid, not the greatest looking guy, so I started wearing sunglasses to look cooler. I dreamed someday I’d be a big-time singer, that I’d marry a beautiful girl, be in movies; and y’know, all those dreams came true.
Holm: Well, we love your music. When we play your songs, we do it with a lot of love and respect for your talent.
Orbison: Aw, thanks, man. You guys have a great concert April 7. I bet I’ll be able to hear it through that Internet cloud thing.
Holm and Bishoff: Thank YOU, Roy! We’ll call our show “In Dreams: the Music of Roy Orbison.”
From the April 4-10, 2012, issue
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