Blue Bayou

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"Blue Bayou"
Roy Orbison Blue Bayou single cover.jpg
Single by Roy Orbison
from the album In Dreams
B-side"Mean Woman Blues"
ReleasedAugust 1, 1963 (1963-08-01)
Format7" vinyl
RecordedNovember 1961
StudioRCA Studio B
GenreCountry pop
Songwriter(s)Roy Orbison, Joe Melson
Producer(s)Fred Foster
Roy Orbison singles chronology
"Blue Bayou"
"Pretty Paper"

"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.

Roy Orbison version[edit]


"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.[1] 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,[2] a rare different version of "Blue Bayou" was released only in Italy (London 45-HL 1499).[2]

"Blue Bayou" reappeared on his 1989 posthumous album A Black & White Night Live, from the 1988 television special on Cinemax.

Track listings[edit]

7" vinyl[edit]

US: Monument Records 824

Side one

  1. "Blue Bayou" (Roy Orbison, Joe Melson) – 2:29 – Recorded in late 1961.

Side two

  1. "Mean Woman Blues" (Claude Demetrius) – 2:23

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1963) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 1
Belgium[3] 3
Ireland[4] 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[3] 10
UK[5] 3
US Billboard Hot R&B Sides[6] 26
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 29

References in popular culture[edit]

This song has been used in several motion pictures including:

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[edit]

"Blue Bayou"
Linda Ronstadt Blue Bayou single cover.jpg
German 7" single
Single by Linda Ronstadt
from the album Simple Dreams
B-sideDepending 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".[7]
ReleasedAugust 23, 1977 (August 23, 1977) (US)
Format7" vinyl
GenreCountry pop
Songwriter(s)Roy Orbison, Joe Melson
Producer(s)Peter Asher
Linda Ronstadt singles chronology
"Lose Again"
"Blue Bayou"
"It's So Easy"


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.[8] "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".[citation needed].

Ronstadt's version was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

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. [9]

Ronstadt's version appears, in edited form, in the 2017 movie American Made.

Track listings[edit]

7" vinyl[edit]

US: Asylum Records E-45431

Side one

  1. "Blue Bayou" (Roy Orbison, Joe Melson) – 3:57

Side two

  1. "Old Paint (traditional, arranged by Linda Ronstadt) – 3:05

Chart performance[edit]

Notable cover versions[edit]

Besides Orbison and Ronstadt, many other artists have covered "Blue Bayou" in English; among the notable versions are:


  1. ^ "Roy Orbison website". Retrieved December 6, 2008.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ a b "Norwegian Charts". Retrieved December 6, 2008.
  4. ^ "Irish Charts search results for Blue Bayou". Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
  5. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 408. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  6. ^ a b "Allmusic – Roy Orbison – Billboard singles". AllMusic. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
  7. ^ "Blue Bayou by Linda Ronstadt". Retrieved 2014-05-24.
  8. ^ "Blue Bayou". Retrieved 2009-12-26.
  9. ^ "W. W. Norton and Company". Retrieved 2013-01-10.
  10. ^ a b c "Allmusic – Linda Ronstadt – Billboard singles". AllMusic. Retrieved December 6, 2008.
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  13. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". 1978-02-26. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  14. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly – Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  15. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  16. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum – Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts – 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  17. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1978". 1978-12-30. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  18. ^ Swiss. "Blue Bayou". New Zealand Singles Chart.
  19. ^ Chris Beachum. "'The Voice' knockouts: Karli Webster takes on 'Blue Bayou' by Linda Ronstadt for Team Miley Cyrus [WATCH]". Gold Derby.
  20. ^ "Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (2012) - IMDb". IMDb.

External links[edit]