Roy Orbison – The Essential Roy Orbison: #892 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Roy Orbison - The Essential Roy Orbison

Why is Roy Orbison’s The Essential Roy Orbison on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

An iconic voice and tremendous career packaged into a massive double album.

What does Roy Orbison’s The Essential Roy Orbison mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

Roy Orbison – on top of having an iconic voice, a tremendous career, and ultimately in many ways a tragic life – presents a challenge on how to “fit him into” the context, so to speak, of a best 1,000 albums ever project.

I considered, for example, Orbison’s 1962 album, Oh, Pretty Woman, which as you might imagine has at least one (and actually has more than one) all timer on it.

Ultimately, I landed on this massive double disc-er that runs nearly two hours and goes a long way toward capturing the breadth of Orbison’s career.

While many of Orbison’s best-known songs were produced during the 1960s, he had a resurgence in the late 1980s just before his untimely death at the age of 52. And then of course, with the massive popularity of the 1990 film, Pretty Woman, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, his music was greeted by a new generation.

Starting with this latter period, let’s go with “You Got It,” a song that shows off Orbison’s gorgeous pipes as well as any other, and is catchy and hummable as hell to boot.

Zooming backward, I personally latch onto another of Orbison’s hit songs that also helps double as the title from an early ‘90s movie – this one the 1991 romantic comedy starring John Candy and Ally Sheedy. It is, of course, “Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel).” I love the string arrangement and piano, lending it a classic early 1960s pop sound.

There are deep cuts a go go among the 40 songs on The Essential Roy Orbison. Check out “Blue Angel” which, like “Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)” was produced in 1960. It too is gorgeous and captures Orbison’s voice at its very best.

My mother is not nearly as… let’s go with passionate about compiling lists and rankings about things pop cultural as I, but like me she has a zest for music that she enjoys. Recently, for example, she’s gone on a deep dive into the Bee Gee’s catalog (and, spoiler: there may or may not be a certain iconic film soundtrack that heavily features that band coming up on this best 1,000 albums ever project).

If she were to compile a list of her favorite artists and bands though, Roy Orbison would certainly be somewhere in the top tier.

Some stats & info about Roy Orbison – The Essential Roy Orbison  

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Pop Music, Rock Music, Rockabilly
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was The Essential Roy Orbison released? 2006
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #892 out of 1,000

Roy Orbison’s The Essential Roy Orbison on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.