“Oh, Pretty Woman” is a song, released in August 1964, which was a worldwide success for Roy Orbison. Recorded on the Monument Records label in Nashville, Tennessee, it was written by Roy Orbison and Bill Dees. The song spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 4 song of 1964. “Pretty Woman” was also Orbison’s third single to top the UK Singles Chart (for a total of three weeks). The previous Orbison singles to reach No.1 in the UK were “Only the Lonely” in 1960 and “It’s Over” earlier in 1964.
There were three guitar players on the session, Billy Sanford, Jerry Kennedy and Wayne Moss. Billy Sanford, who later played session for everybody from Elvis to Don Williams (and took to the road with Don in the 1990s) did the kick-off. Williams introduced him as a kid who had just arrived Nashville, with a borrowed guitar, who heard Orbison was minus a guitar player, who went over and got the gig. Other musicians on the record included Floyd Cramer on piano, Bob Moore on an upright bass, Boots Randolph and Charlie McCoy on sax, and Buddy Harman and Paul Garrison on drums. Orbison also played a 12 string epiphone.
The record sold seven million copies and marked the high point in Orbison’s career. Within months of its release, in October 1964, the single was awarded a gold record by RIAA. Orbison posthumously won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his live recording of the song on his HBO television special Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night. In 1999, the song was honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award and was named one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #222 on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time,” and in 2012, Texas Music magazine ranked the song No. 7 on its list of “The Top 50 Classic Texas Songs.”
Please visit Roy Orbison’s Official Website at http://www.royorbison.com/
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