Memphis Minute - April 23rd
The Texas boy wrote his first song as an eight year old. At ten he split first-place prize money in a talent contest singing “Mountain Dew.” As an eighteen year old his band had their own radio show. A couple of hot young artists from Memphis visited and played on the show. They liked what they heard and one of them told the young Texan with the golden voice to call the studio head in Memphis. When he did, Sam Phillips bluntly told him "Johnny Cash doesn't run my record company!"
That should have been a clue, but Phillips later heard his record and wanted him in the studio. They didn’t really get along, but that song broke into Billboard’s charts, a minor hit. Of course Sam knew best, but the sound he wanted didn’t fit the ballad singer’s style. Later records for Sun failed to chart. He left Sun and Memphis a few years later for Nashville and rock ‘n roll history, influencing The Beatles, Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, and Bruce Springsteen.
Remembering Roy Orbison, born on this day in 1936 in Vernon Texas.
Here are Roy and some of those friends playing his first hit on a show recorded in 1987, just over a year before Orbison’s death in December 1988.
“Oh, Pretty Woman,” from ‘Roy Orbison and Friends: A Black and White Night’