Friday Song: “You Got It”

Famous multiple times, this incredible singer left us one last hit thanks to help from some friends.

Roy Orbison had one of the most distinctive rock voices. Bob Dylan described it as follows:

He sounded like he was singing from an Olympian mountaintop, and he meant business.

T. Bone Burnett, who was one of the producers of Orbison’s last album, had this to say about how Orbison sang:

. . . he sang so quietly. If you stood 10’ away, you couldn’t hear him. It was just pure, pure tone. Pure, amazing, round, solid, soft, incredibly soft tone. When you got close to it with a microphone and turned it up, it would seem incredibly loud because it was so powerful.

Originally from Texas, Orbison soared to popularity on a string of hits he wrote or co-wrote in the 1960s — “Only the Lonely,” “Crying,” “In Dreams,” and “Oh, Pretty Woman.”

In the 1970s, after more than a decade of producing albums without charting a hit, Orbison found the spotlight returning to him in 1977, when Linda Ronstadt covered his song, “Blue Bayou.” Her version reached #3 on the Billboard charts and remained on the charts for 24 weeks. Don McLean covered “Crying” in 1980, which also reached the charts. In 1981, Orbison and Emmylou Harris won a Grammy Award for their duet “That Lovin’ You Feelin’ Again” from the comedy film Roadie, where Orbison had a cameo. His song “In Dreams” was used in 1986 in the David Lynch film Blue Velvet, charting again.

Then, Orbison got involved in the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, which included George Harrison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Bob Dylan.

After the success of this group, Lynne and Petty helped Orbison (along with Burnett and Bono) record his final album, Mystery Girl, which was released posthumously in 1989, after Orbison died of a heart attack in 1988.

“You Got It” was the first single from the album, and gave Orbison his first Top 10 hit since 1964.

Written by Orbison with Lynne and Petty, Orbison performed “You Got It” in public just once — at the Diamond Awards Festival in Antwerp, Belgium, on November 19, 1988. This performance was used in the song’s music video.

Orbison’s honors include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in addition to five other Grammy Awards.

Orbison was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Bruce Springsteen, who said:

I wanted a record with words like Bob Dylan that sounded like Phil Spector — but, most of all, I wanted to sing like Roy Orbison. Now, everyone knows that no one sings like Roy Orbison.