Mystery Girl

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Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl - Roy Orbison.jpg
Studio album by Roy Orbison
Released January 31, 1989
Recorded April–November 1988
Studio Rumbo Recorders, Canoga Park, CA; A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA; FPSHOT, Oxfordshire[1]
Genre Rockabilly, country rock
Length 38:17
Label Virgin
Producer Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell, Jeff Lynne, T Bone Burnett, Barbara Orbison, Bono
Roy Orbison chronology
In Dreams: The Greatest Hits
(1987)In Dreams: The Greatest Hits1987
Mystery Girl
(1989)
A Black & White Night Live
(1989)A Black & White Night Live1989

Mystery Girl is the twenty-second album by American singer Roy Orbison. It was completed in November 1988, a month before his death at the age of 52, and according to the official Roy Orbison discography by Marcel Riesco, released on the Virgin record label on January 31, 1989.[2] It includes the hit singles "You Got It", which was co-written by Orbison and his Traveling Wilburys bandmates Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty, and "She's a Mystery to Me", written by Bono and The Edge. The album was a critical and commercial success; it peaked at number 5 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, the highest position Orbison had achieved on that chart, and number 2 on the UK Albums Chart.[3]

Mystery Girl was Orbison's first album of all-new material since 1979 and its success posthumously continued the resurgence that his career had undergone since 1986. Among the many other contributors to the album were Mike Campbell and other members of the Heartbreakers, T Bone Burnett, George Harrison, Jim Keltner and Rick Vito. For the 25th anniversary of its release, the album was reissued with bonus tracks including "The Way Is Love", a song recorded by Orbison on a cassette tape in the 1980s that was subsequently completed by his sons and producer John Carter Cash.

Recording[edit]

Before making Mystery Girl, Roy Orbison's last album of new material had been 1979's Laminar Flow. This release followed a run of commercial and critical failures in the United States since his years of international stardom in the early 1960s.[4] From 1986,[5] support from admirers such as filmmaker David Lynch and Bruce Springsteen reversed this trend, rescuing him from relative obscurity in his homeland as Orbison again became a popular concert draw.[6] Jeff Lynne, another long-time admirer, began writing songs with Orbison over Christmas 1987 for a proposed new album. The track "You Got It" was written at this time and was a collaboration between Lynne, Orbison and Tom Petty. With Lynne as his producer, Orbison recorded "You Got It" in April 1988 at the garage studio of Petty's bandmate in the Heartbreakers, Mike Campbell.[7]

Recording for the album continued alongside Orbison's involvement in the Traveling Wilburys, a supergroup project initiated by George Harrison and Lynne[8][9] that also included Petty and Bob Dylan.[10] Aside from further Lynne-produced sessions for Mystery Girl, to which Petty and Harrison contributed,[11] Orbison recorded some of the songs with Campbell, T Bone Burnett and his wife Barbara Orbison[5] each in the role of producer.[12] The Heartbreakers played on much of the album,[13] while Elvis Costello contributed the song "The Comedians".[5]

The album was named after the chorus from the track "She's a Mystery to Me", which was written by U2's Bono and The Edge. In the documentary In Dreams: The Roy Orbison Story, Bono says he woke up for a concert soundcheck, following a late night listening to the soundtrack to Lynch's Blue Velvet, and had the tune of the title song in his head, figuring it was another Orbison song ("In Dreams" was the only Orbison song on that album). During the soundcheck, he performed "She's a Mystery to Me" for the other members of U2, who agreed that it sounded like an Orbison song. Orbison later met the band backstage at one of their concerts and subsequently asked Bono if he would like to write a song either with or for him.

Recording for the album was completed in November 1988. Having maintained a busy schedule of concert performances, Orbison told Johnny Cash at this time that he was experiencing chest pains and would need to do something about his health.[14] On December 6, two days after performing a show in Highland Heights, Ohio, Orbison died of a heart attack, at the age of 52.[15]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[5]
Robert ChristgauB[16]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[17]
Houston Chronicle4/5 stars[18]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[19]
MusicHound3/5[17]
Music Story4/5 stars[17]
Q5/5 stars[20]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[21]

Mystery Girl was Orbison's first significant critical and commercial success as a solo artist since the mid-1960s. [22] It was released on January 31, 1989[2] and followed the Wilburys' Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 into the higher reaches of the US albums chart.[5] On April 8, 1989, Orbison became the first deceased musician since Elvis Presley to have two albums in the top five positions in the US, with the Traveling Wilburys album at number 4 and Mystery Girl at number 5.[23] This was the highest placing he had achieved for an album in the US, and the single, "You Got It", which peaked at number 9, was Orbison's first top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 since "Oh, Pretty Woman" in 1964.[12] In the United Kingdom, on the national chart dated to February 11, 1989, Mystery Girl was listed at number 2 (its peak position there), as the compilation The Legendary Roy Orbison was at number 3.[24]

In his contemporary review for the Chicago Tribune, David Silverman lamented that, given the expectations caused by Orbison's death, "the publicity and fanfare have threatened to cheapen the album, reducing it to novelty status while directing attention away from its rightful distinction as one of Orbison's finest works – a comeback to match his legendary status." Silverman especially admired "Dream You" and said that the only weak track was "The Comedians", where "the openly rancorous story" was unsuitable for such "an unrequited romantic" as Orbison.[25] By contrast, New York Times critic Stephen Holden highlighted "The Comedians" as the album's "outstanding song", saying that it was a "witty parody" of Orbison's 1961 hit "Running Scared" that the singer had succeeded in transcending from mere homage due to his expressive vocal. Holden added that, throughout Mystery Girl, "the singing, songwriting and production do a superb job of bringing Orbison up to date without diluting his haunted hyper-romantic fervor."[26] The Deseret News' reviewer described it as a "great, great album" that sealed Orbison's comeback after the Traveling Wilburys' recent success and reinforced what a true loss his death was to popular music. The reviewer admired Orbison's ability to work effectively with his collaborators and highlighted "You Got It" as an "exceptional single" and "She's a Mystery to Me" as "perhaps the best song on the album".[27]

In May 2014, Mystery Girl was reissued in a 25th anniversary edition. It included bonus material such as demos and a new song, "The Way Is Love", which was completed by John Carter Cash and Orbison's sons from a cassette demo recorded in around 1986.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."You Got It"Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Tom PettyJeff Lynne3:30
2."In the Real World"Richard Kerr, Will JenningsRoy Orbison, Mike Campbell, Barbara Orbison3:44
3."(All I Can Do Is) Dream You"Billy Burnette, David MalloyT-Bone Burnett3:39
4."A Love So Beautiful"Roy Orbison, Jeff LynneJeff Lynne3:33
5."California Blue"Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Tom PettyJeff Lynne3:57
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
6."She's a Mystery to Me"Bono, The EdgeBono4:16
7."The Comedians"Elvis CostelloT-Bone Burnett3:26
8."The Only One"Wesley Orbison, Craig WisemanRoy Orbison, Mike Campbell3:55
9."Windsurfer"Roy Orbison, Bill DeesRoy Orbison, Mike Campbell4:01
10."Careless Heart"Roy Orbison, Diane Warren, Albert HammondRoy Orbison, Mike Campbell4:08

Personnel[edit]

Core contributors

Additional musicians

Accolades[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1990 "You Got It" Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male[29] Nominated

Chart positions[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[48] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Germany (BVMI)[49] Gold 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[50] Platinum 100,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[51] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (GLF)[52] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[53] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[54] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[55] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Clayson, Alan (2003). George Harrison. London: Sanctuary. pp. 422–23. ISBN 1-86074-489-3. 
  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. 235. ISBN 9781478976547. OCLC 1017566749. 
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 408–409. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Lehman, Peter (2010). Roy Orbison: The Invention of an Alternative Rock Masculinity. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. pp. 16, 161. ISBN 978-1-439903896. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Roy Orbison Mystery Girl". AllMusic. Retrieved November 15, 2017. 
  6. ^ Lehman 2010, pp. 16, 154, 161.
  7. ^ Van der Kiste, John (2015). Jeff Lynne: The Electric Light Orchestra, Before and After. Stroud, UK: Fonthill Media. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-78155-492-0. 
  8. ^ Zimmer, Dave (5 May 1989). "Tom Petty: Once In A Full Moon". BAM.  Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  9. ^ Van der Kiste 2015, pp. 112–13, 120.
  10. ^ Romanowski, Patricia; George-Warren, Holly (eds) (1995). The New Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York, NY: Fireside/Rolling Stone Press. p. 1014. ISBN 0-684-81044-1. 
  11. ^ Clayson 2003, pp. 422–23.
  12. ^ a b Romanowski & George-Warren 1995, p. 730.
  13. ^ Zollo, Paul (2005). Conversations with Tom Petty. New York, NY: Omnibus Press. p. 132. ISBN 1-84449-815-8. 
  14. ^ Amburn, Ellis (1990). Dark Star: The Roy Orbison Story. New York, NY: Carol Publishing Group. pp. 227–28. ISBN 0-8184-0518-X. 
  15. ^ Clayson, Alan (1989). Only the Lonely: Roy Orbison's Life and Legacy. London: St. Martin's Press. p. 213. ISBN 0-312-03961-1. 
  16. ^ "CG: Roy Orbison". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved September 9, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b c "Roy Orbison Mystery Girl". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved November 15, 2017. 
  18. ^ Claypool, Bob (February 12, 1989). "Records". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 4, 2011. 
  19. ^ Hilburn, Robert (January 29, 1989). "The Albums of Winter: Posthumous Roy Orbison release leads the pack". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 1, 2011. 
  20. ^ Hilburn, Robert (March 19, 1989). "Roy Orbison's 'Mystery' Success: The story behind his posthumous hit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 4, 2018. In England, the influential Q magazine gave 'Mystery Girl' a maximum five stars, describing it as 'a stunning introduction to the magic of Roy Orbison.' 
  21. ^ link Archived May 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Lehman 2010, p. 17.
  23. ^ "Billboard album chart, page 80 of this issue" (PDF). 
  24. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 75 - Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com. 
  25. ^ Silverman, David (February 2, 1989). "Orbison's 'Mystery Girl' Is A Poignant Comeback". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  26. ^ Holden, Stephen (February 15, 1989). "The Pop Life". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  27. ^ Staff writer (March 10, 1989). "On the Record: Last Album by Orbison Was a Winner". Deseret News. Retrieved November 16, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Roy Oabison The Soul of Rock and Roll 4-CD box set features 12 unreleased songs". Archived from The Official Roy Orbison Site the original Check |url= value (help) on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  29. ^ "HERE'S LIST OF NOMINEES FROM ALL 77 CATEGORIES". deseretnews.com. Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  30. ^ "australian-charts.com Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  31. ^ "Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl – austriancharts.at" (in German). Archived from the original on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  32. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  33. ^ "Album Search: Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  34. ^ ロイ・オービソン-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック "Highest position and charting weeks of Mystery Girl by Roy Orbison" Check |url= value (help). oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon Style. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  35. ^ "charts.org.nz — Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  36. ^ "norwegiancharts.com Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl". VG-lista. Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  37. ^ "swedishcharts.com Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  38. ^ "Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl — hitparade.ch" (in German). Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  39. ^ "Chart Stats — Roy Orbison — Mystery Girl". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  40. ^ AllMusic - Mystery Girl > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  41. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 50 Albums 1989". aria.com.au. Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  42. ^ "Austriancharts.at — Jahreshitparade 1989" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  43. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1989". RPM. 1989-12-23. Archived from the original on 2013-12-31. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  44. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1989" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014-05-01. 
  45. ^ "Hitparade.ch — Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1989". Swiss Music Charts (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  46. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2014-04-29. 
  47. ^ "The Billboard 200 - Year-end: 1989". Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  48. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl". Music Canada. 
  49. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Roy Orbison; 'Mystery Girl')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  50. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers.  Enter Mystery Girl in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  51. ^ "Solo Exitos 1959-2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1979-1990". Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392. 
  52. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. 
  53. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Roy Orbison; 'Mystery Girl')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  54. ^ "British album certifications – Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl". British Phonographic Industry.  Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Enter Mystery Girl in the search field and then press Enter.
  55. ^ "American album certifications – Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH.