Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison

Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison

by John Kruth


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(Book). Roy Orbison emerged as an artist alongside his Sun Records contemporaries in the early days of rock 'n' roll. He did not possess the good looks of Elvis Presley or the everyman toughness of Johnny Cash, nor did he conduct wild-child stage antics like Jerry Lee Lewis. But he did possess a magnetic mystique that would captivate fans around the world and inspire countless musicians. A quiet man, who k.d. lang would refer to as "Buddha," Orbison was more interested in building model airplanes, watching films, and reading books in his den than talking about himself or partying hard. Yet he was nothing shy of a superstar determined to succeed, driven by a relentless love for music that started in childhood, and blessed with some of the best pipes in the business. Standing still onstage, hidden behind his perpetual Ray-Bans, Orbison delivered his melodious songs with haunting emotional depth. His artful recordings, mysterious image, and angelic voice have left an indelible mark on popular music. In Rhapsody in Black , John Kruth tells the story of Roy Orbison in prose as musical as the artist's melodies and does not shy away from or trivialize the personal pain, alienation, and tragic events that shaped Orbison's singular personality and music. Featuring interviews with people who worked closely with Orbison, career-spanning photos, a select discography, and a new afterward for the paperback edition, Rhapsody in Black is both celebratory and touching. It delves into the behind-the-music details of Orbison's collaborations, recording sessions, tours, and business affairs, as well as his personal life his roots, his marriages and his children to present a telescopic view of his legacy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781540000460
Publisher: Backbeat
Publication date: 03/01/2018
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 6.11(w) x 8.95(h) x 0.66(d)

About the Author

John Kruth, whose other books include To Live's to Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt (winner of an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award), A Friend of the Devil: The Glorification of the Outlaw in Song, from Robin Hood to Rap, and Bright Moments: The Life and Legacy of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, is also a musician with ten solo albums to his credit. As a sideman, Kruth has played with Ornette Coleman, Laurie Anderson, John Cale, Violent Femmes, and the Band's Garth Hudson and Rick Danko, among others. Kruth's writing has appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, the Progressive, Wive, Wax Poetics, and Sing Out! A professor of music, Kruth currently teaches at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

1 The Rockabilly Rigoletto 1

2 All Right . . . for a While 23

3 A Cat Called Domino 37

4 Dreamsongs of the Gentle Emperor 55

5 Of Crickets and Beatles 85

6 The Pretty Woman and a House Without Windows 99

7 Rolling with the Stones and Other Punches 113

8 Love, Death, and B Movies 121

9 Greetings from Jericho Parkway 149

10 Down Thunder Road and Back 167

11 Bulgarian Holiday 183

12 California Blue 189

13 In Bob's Garage 203

14 Going Out on a High Note 209

15 Beyond the End: A Widow's Walk 217

Afterword: So Tired of Being Lonely 225

Selected Discography 231

Bibliography 237

Acknowledgments 239

Index 241

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