Crying (Roy Orbison song)

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Single by Roy Orbison
from the album Crying
B-side "Candy Man"
Released July 1961
Genre Rock,[1] country[2]
Length 2:46
Label Monument 447
Writer(s) Roy Orbison, Joe Melson
Producer(s) Fred Foster
Roy Orbison singles chronology
"Running Scared"
"Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)"

"Crying" is a ballad written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson that was a hit for Orbison.


Dave Marsh calls the song a "rock-bolero" with "blaring strings, hammered tympani, a ghostly chorus, the gentle strum of a guitar, [and] a hint of marimba".[1] Billboard observes an "expressive reading" on the "country-flavored ballad."[2] The personnel on the original recording included Orbison session regulars Bob Moore on bass, Floyd Cramer on piano, Buddy Harman on drums, and Boudleaux Bryant, Harold Bradley and Scotty Moore on guitar.

Release and reception[edit]

The song was released as a 45-rpm single by Monument Records in July 1961 and reached No. 1 on the United States Cashbox chart for a week on October 7, 1961, and peaking at No. 2 on the rival Billboard Hot 100. Despite not reaching the summit in the latter publication, Billboard ranked the record as the No. 4 song of 1961.[3]

In 1987, Orbison rerecorded the song as a duet with K.D. Lang as part of the soundtrack for the motion picture Hiding Out. Their collaboration won the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. The duet version was a minor US chart hit for the pair, peaking at No. 42 on the hot country singles chart,[4] though it was a more substantial hit in the UK in 1992, reaching No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart.

In 2002, "Crying" was honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. In 2010, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it 69th on their list of the "500 greatest songs of all time".[5]

Cover versions[edit]

Glen Campbell also covered this song on an album.

Live cover performances[edit]

  • Carrie Underwood performed this song in the "Top 3" episode of the popular singing show American Idol. Underwood later won the competition.
  • Emily Vinette performed this song in the "Top 10" episode of Canadian Idol's third season. Vinette was voted off the next night. Ashley Coulter performed the song in the "Top 6" episode of season four. She was also voted off the next night.
  • In the final round of season two of the talent show America's Got Talent, ventriloquist Terry Fator used his puppet turtle "Winston" to perform this song, while impersonating Roy Orbison. Fator received the highest number of votes and won the competition along with the one million dollar prize.
  • In 2009 "Crying" was performed by Jamie 'Afro' Archer on the UK version of The X Factor.
  • American Idol season 12 finalist Kree Harrison performed "Crying" during Music of the American Idols week.
  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band covered the song live in May 1988, in Madison Square Garden.

Appearances in film, television and other media[edit]

  • US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney mentioned this song among his top 10 songs of all time in March 2012.[14]
  • In 2011, "Crying" was featured in the American comedy-drama film 50/50.[15]
  • "Crying" was featured in an episode of Only Fools and Horses. The episode "Stage Fright" featured Raquel and a guest character Tony Angelino (played by Philip Pope) singing this song at a function. Angelino had a rhotacism, causing him to pronounce his Rs incorrectly.
  • "Crying" is featured near the start of the first of the Australian telemovie trilogy Small Claims starring Rebecca Gibney and Claudia Karvan.
  • "Crying" was featured in the movie Gummo. After huffing glue, Tummler remarks that his cross-dressing brother used to sing "Crying". Tummler then proceeds to weakly sing parts of the song. The original version of the song is used during the last scenes of the movie.
  • "Llorando" was featured in a famous scene in Mulholland Drive and during the closing scenes of Prison Break, season three.
  • On 2 February 2008, k.d. lang, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Saturday Live program, said that Roy had told her that this song was written after he had seen an ex-girlfriend at a burger stand.
  • In early 2008, "Crying" was featured in an anti-drunk-driving commercial. It is sung karaoke-style.
  • In the episode titled "1961" in season three of Heroes, "Crying" is playing in the background.
  • In the Sports Night episode "And the Crowd Goes Wild", Casey McCall wears sunglasses during the course of a day following an eye exam. His colleagues ridicule him for this, one of them saying, "Hit the high note in 'Crying' and I'll be impressed," in reference to Orbison and his trademark sunglasses.
  • In the Sopranos, season five, episode two "Rat Pack", the song is playing at a diner while Tony is meeting with contractor Jack Massarone.
  • The song is featured in the 1999 film Paperback Hero, sung by Hugh Jackman and Claudia Karvan.


  1. ^ a b Marsh, Dave (1999). The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. Da Capo Press. pp. 75–76. ISBN 030680901X. 
  2. ^ a b "Spotlight Singles of the Week". Billboard: 27. July 31, 1961. Retrieved December 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1961
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 305. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  5. ^ "Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time". Rolling Stone. April 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 Chart History : "Crying" - Don McLean". Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 382. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  8. ^ Taubin, Amy (September–October 2001). "In Dreams", Film Comment, 37 (5), p. 51–55.
  9. ^ "Covers by Nicholis Louw". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  10. ^ "Check out Russian Red Performing "Crying!"". Roy Orbison. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  11. ^ Whitburn, p. 179
  12. ^ Whitburn, p. 279
  13. ^ Whitburn, p. 472
  14. ^ "Mitt Romney names the greatest tunes off all time". Politico. Retrieved March 2012. 
  15. ^ "IMDB soundtrack list for the movie 50/50". 2011. Retrieved 2014-03-29. 
  13. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Theme from MASH" by Mash
UK number one single (Don McLean version)
21 June 1980 - 12 July 1980
Succeeded by
"Xanadu" by Olivia Newton-John & Electric Light Orchestra
Preceded by
"Guitar Man"
by Elvis Presley
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single (Don McLean version)

April 11-April 18, 1981
Succeeded by
"Old Flame"
by Alabama
Preceded by
"Hollywood Love"
by Carroll Baker
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single of the year (Don McLean version)

Succeeded by
"Love Will Turn You Around"
by Kenny Rogers