Blue Bayou

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This article is about the Roy Orbison song. For other uses, see Blue Bayou (disambiguation).
"Blue Bayou"
Single by Roy Orbison
from the album In Dreams
B-side "Mean Woman Blues"
Released August 1, 1963 (1963-08-01)
Format 7" vinyl
Recorded November 1961, at Monument Records
Genre Country pop, rockabilly
Length 2:29
Label Monument
Writer(s) Roy Orbison, Joe Melson
Producer(s) Fred Foster
Roy Orbison singles chronology
"Blue Bayou"
"Pretty Paper"

"Blue Bayou" is the title of 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, who scored a charting hit with her cover of "Blue Bayou" in 1977. The song has since been recorded by many other artists over the years.

Roy Orbison version[edit]


A plaintive ballad, "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.

"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[2] 3
Ireland[3] 1
Norwegian Singles Chart[2] 10
UK 3
US Billboard Hot R&B Sides[4] 26
US Billboard Hot 100[4] 29

References in popular culture[edit]

This song has been used in several motion pictures including:

Linda Ronstadt version[edit]

"Blue Bayou"
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".[5]
Released August 23, 1977 (August 23, 1977) (US)
Format 7" vinyl
Genre Country rock, Rock ballad
Length 3:57
Label Asylum
Writer(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 four 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.[6] "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 an episode of The Muppet Show.

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 '80s. [7]

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]

Chart (1977) Peak
US Billboard Adult Contemporary[8] 3
US Billboard Country Singles[8] 2
US Billboard Pop Singles[8] 3
Chart (1978) Peak
New Zealand Singles Chart 3
UK Singles Chart[9] 35

Other versions[edit]

Besides Linda Ronstadt, many other artists have covered "Blue Bayou" in English; among them are:

Versions in other languages[edit]


  1. ^ "Roy Orbison website". Retrieved December 6, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b "". Retrieved December 6, 2008. 
  3. ^ " search results for Blue Bayou". Retrieved December 6, 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Allmusic - Roy Orbison - Billboard singles". Retrieved December 6, 2008. 
  5. ^ "Blue Bayou by Linda Ronstadt". Retrieved 2014-05-24. 
  6. ^ "Blue Bayou". Retrieved 2009-12-26. 
  7. ^ "W. W. Norton and Company". Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  8. ^ a b c "Allmusic - Linda Ronstadt - Billboard singles". Retrieved December 6, 2008. 
  9. ^ " search results". Retrieved December 6, 2008. 
  10. ^ New Zealand Singles Chart: Swiss - "Blue Bayou" song page

External links[edit]