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|Single by Roy Orbison|
|from the album In Dreams|
|B-side||"Mean Woman Blues"|
|Released||August 1, 1963|
|Studio||RCA Studio B|
|Songwriter(s)||Roy Orbison, Joe Melson|
|Roy Orbison singles chronology|
"Blue Bayou" is a song written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson. It was originally sung and recorded by Orbison, who had an international hit with his version in 1963. It later became Linda Ronstadt's signature song, with which she scored a Top 5 hit with her cover in 1977. The song has since been recorded by many others.
- 1 Roy Orbison version
- 2 Linda Ronstadt version
- 3 Notable cover versions
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Roy Orbison version
"Blue Bayou" was originally recorded by Roy Orbison at the end of 1961, but released by Monument as the double A-side track on a Monument Records single in the UK, yet was issued as the B-side single in the US, peaking at number 29; "Mean Woman Blues" was a US number 5, released in August 1963, written by Claude Demetrius and originally recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957. In the UK both sides peaked at number 3 as a double A-sided single on London Monument, HLU 9777. The song also appeared on Orbison's 1963 full-length album In Dreams. According to the official Roy Orbison U.S. discography by Marcel Riesco, a rare different version of "Blue Bayou" was released only in Italy (London 45-HL 1499).
US: Monument Records 824
- "Blue Bayou" (Roy Orbison, Joe Melson) – 2:29 – Recorded in late 1961.
- "Mean Woman Blues" (Claude Demetrius) – 2:23
|Australian Singles Chart||1|
|Norwegian Singles Chart||10|
|US Billboard Hot R&B Sides||26|
|US Billboard Hot 100||29|
References in popular culture
This song has been used in several motion pictures including:
- The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), starring David Bowie, directed by Nicolas Roeg
- Last Orders (2001), directed by Fred Schepisi
- Dreamcatcher (2003), directed by Lawrence Kasdan
- Man on Fire (2004), directed by Tony Scott
Jacques Cousteau included an abridged version of the song during a "River Explorations" episode which details environmental changes on the Mississippi River. This song has also been used in the Netflix digital series, Stranger Things (Season 2, Episode 6).
Linda Ronstadt version
German 7" single
|Single by Linda Ronstadt|
|from the album Simple Dreams|
|B-side||Depending on the country of release, this side would either be reserved for the songs "Old Paint", "Love Me Tender, "Maybe I'm Right, or "Poor Poor Pitiful Me".|
|Released||August 23, 1977(US)|
|Songwriter(s)||Roy Orbison, Joe Melson|
|Linda Ronstadt singles chronology|
Linda Ronstadt took the song to number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1977, where it held for three weeks, as well as number 2 Country and number 3 Easy Listening. It also reached number 2, for four weeks, on the Cash Box Top 100 chart.
The single was RIAA certified Gold (for sales of over 1 million US copies) in January 1978. It was the first of Ronstadt's three Gold singles. Don Henley of the Eagles sang backup on the recording. "Blue Bayou" was later certified Platinum (for over 2 million copies sold in the United States). It was a worldwide smash and was also popular in a Spanish-language version called "Lago Azul"..
Ronstadt later performed the song on the episode 523 of The Muppet Show, first aired October 26, 1980 on UK, and May 16, 1981 on United States.
Because of this song, Dickson's Baseball Dictionary records that a "Linda Ronstadt" is a synonym for a fastball, a pitch that "blew by you". That phrase was coined by Mets broadcaster Tim McCarver, during a Mets telecast in the 1980s. 
Ronstadt's version appears, in edited form, in the 2017 movie American Made.
US: Asylum Records E-45431
- "Blue Bayou" (Roy Orbison, Joe Melson) – 3:57
- "Old Paint (traditional, arranged by Linda Ronstadt) – 3:05
Notable cover versions
Besides Orbison and Ronstadt, many other artists have covered "Blue Bayou" in English; among the notable versions are:
- Dutch singer Piet Veerman and the New Cats, 1980, on a single and his album Back to You.
- Swiss (a reggae singer of Tongan origin in New Zealand), 2012, on the single Blue Bayou (a reggae version of the song).
- Alisan Porter, winner of season 10 (2016) of the program The Voice, sang the song during her blind audition, prompting all four judges to turn their chairs.
- Rick Price and Jack Jones covered the song on their album California Dreaming (2017).
- Karli Webster, contestant of season 13 (2017) of The Voice, sang the song in the knockouts against Janice Freeman. Although she lost the knockout, she came back as a comeback artist for Miley Cyrus in the live shows. However, Webster was again eliminated.
- Harry Dean Stanton performed the song in his biopic Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction.
- "Roy Orbison website". Orbison.com. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
- Orbison, Roy Jr. (2017). The authorized Roy Orbison. Orbison, Wesley,, Orbison, Alex,, Slate, Jeff,, Riesco, Marcel (Second ed.). New York: Center Street. p. 249. ISBN 9781478976547. OCLC 1017566749.
- "Norwegian Charts". Norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
- "Irish Charts search results for Blue Bayou". Irishcharts.ie. Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 408. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Allmusic – Roy Orbison – Billboard singles". AllMusic. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
- "Blue Bayou by Linda Ronstadt". Wax.fm. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
- "Blue Bayou". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2009-12-26.
- "W. W. Norton and Company". Books.wwnorton.com. Retrieved 2013-01-10.
- "Allmusic – Linda Ronstadt – Billboard singles". AllMusic. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
- "Australian Chart Book". Austchartbook.com.au. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". Nztop40.co.nz. 1978-02-26. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "Image : RPM Weekly – Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- Steffen Hung. "Forum – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1978". Tropicalglen.com. 1978-12-30. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- Swiss. "Blue Bayou". New Zealand Singles Chart.
- Chris Beachum. "'The Voice' knockouts: Karli Webster takes on 'Blue Bayou' by Linda Ronstadt for Team Miley Cyrus [WATCH]". Gold Derby.
- "Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (2012) - IMDb". IMDb.