In the 60s This Classic Was On Top Of The Charts – Who remembers sweet old times?

While it may seem odd, as far as music goes, the genre of rock and roll is a very young style of music. First gaining widespread popularity in the mid-1950s with singers like Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly, for many listeners, rock and roll music is part and parcel of American culture. In addition to pulse pounding lyrics and catchy melodies, rock and roll music expressed the rebellious feelings of many young listeners in the 50s and 60s. One of the most important artists from the golden age of rock and roll was Roy Orbison. In a 1966 appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, Orbison played a rocking rendition of “Oh, Pretty Woman,” one of his signature songs.

Most everyone can recognize the first chords of “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Orbison’s song headlined the soundtrack for the now classic 1990 film Pretty Woman and is a cultural milestone for anyone who came of age in the 60s. First released in 1964, Orbison’s American accent felt a little out of place on the radio at that time, which was dominated by The Beatles and other bands of the British Invasion. A testament to the song’s popularity, “Oh, Pretty Woman” topped the charts for four straight weeks in the summer of 1964.

Bill Dees, who wrote the song alongside of Orbison, told of how they came up with its lyrics. One night, Dees was hanging out with Orbison and his wife, Claudette Frady, when Claudette said that she was going to go to the local grocery store. Before Claudette left, Orbison asked if she needed any money, upon which Dees joked that pretty women don’t need any money. The joked stirred Orbison’s creativity and, by the time Claudette returned home, he and Dees had completed work on the song.

In his appearance on American Bandstand, Orbison plays his guitar with his iconic pompadour and horn-rimmed sunglasses. As Clark introduced him, he noted how popular Orbison is and said how he hoped that the crowd would enjoy the singer’s performance. As Orbison began playing, the crowd went wild, clapping their hands and stomping their feet. After his performance, Orbison told of his excitement to begin filming his first Hollywood picture, The Fastest Guitar Alive, where he played a Confederate spy in the Civil War.

When Orbison died in 1988, his career spanned over three decades. The recipient of countless accolades, Orbison is regarded as one the most popular singers of all time and influenced many performers that came after him.

In the end, Orbison’s performance on American Bandstand shows just how exciting the 60s were for music lovers. The influence of rock and roll on the younger generation in the 50s and 60s forever changed the music scene and brought the style into the mainstream culture.


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