December 4

Roy Orbison: “Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)”

We struggle with the pain of loneliness after a breakup. From that moment, the feeling is inevitable. We feel that there was a particular routine in our day that has now changed. After they left, we can no longer meet those expectations. So, we feel that something is missing. We cannot help but feel this massive void. Although struggling, we still need to give ourselves a chance to move on.

That is what the song “Only The Lonely” is all about. It relays the struggles of losing someone. Eventually, when the right time comes, we give ourselves a chance.

Roy Orbison & “Only the Lonely”

Although he established his home in Nashville and recorded there, Roy Orbison’s name never actually appeared on the Billboard country singles or album charts. Up until the year 1980, he wrote and recorded “That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again.” At that time, he made a duet with Emmylou Harris selected from the soundtrack of the film, “Roadie”. The OST reached no. 6 on the country singles chart.

Between 1960 and 1964, not many knew that Orbison had been a mainstay of pop music. He accumulated nine Top Ten singles.

Orbison first charted with “Ooby Dooby,” released in 1956 on Sam Phillips’ Sun label. At that time, Roy became friends with Sonny James. Often, they were together for the opening of “The Southern Gentleman” when he toured in the West Texas area.

Orbison’s first bona fide hit was “Only The Lonely,” a song he once hoped the Everly Brothers would cut. Instead, he recorded it and it went to #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 pop chart in 1960. Sonny James thought it was a great song. Furthermore, he believed it would do well in the country market, with a re-worked arrangement to suit that genre. Nearly nine years after Roy’s original version of “Only The Lonely” became a pop hit, James introduced it to country audiences.

Listen to Roy Orbison’s version of “Only the Lonely:”


country music, only the lonely, Ooby Dooby, Roy Orbison

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