Only the Lonely
|"Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)"|
|Single by Roy Orbison|
|from the album Lonely and Blue|
|B-side||"Here Comes That Song Again"|
|Genre||Pop, Rock and roll|
|Writer(s)||Roy Orbison, Joe Melson|
|Roy Orbison singles chronology|
"Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)" is a 1960 song written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson. Orbison's recording of the song, produced by Fred Foster for Monument Records, was the first major hit for the singer. As an operatic rock ballad, it was a sound unheard of at the time except It's Now or Never by Elvis Presley, described by the New York Times as expressing "a clenched, driven urgency". It is seen as a seminal event in the evolution of rock and roll. Released as a 45rpm single by Monument Records in May 1960, "Only the Lonely" went to No. 2 on the United States Billboard pop music charts on 25 July 1960 (blocked by Brenda Lee's "I'm Sorry") and No. 14 on the Billboard R&B charts. "Only the Lonely" reached Number One in the United Kingdom, a position it achieved on 20 October 1960, staying there for two weeks (out of a total of 24 weeks spent on the UK singles chart from 28 July 1960). The personnel on the original recording included Orbison's session regulars Buddy Harman on drums, Floyd Cramer on piano and Bob Moore on bass, with Hank Garland and Harold Bradley on guitar.
In 1999, "Only the Lonely" was honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked it No. 232 on their list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
In popular culture
- Orbison's version of his song has been used in motion pictures, including The Love Letter (1999) and Only the Lonely (1991).
- Bruce Springsteen referred to the song in his 1975 song "Thunder Road", and when inducting Orbison into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, Springsteen said, "In '75, when I went into the studio to make Born to Run, I wanted to make a record with words like Bob Dylan that sounded like Phil Spector, but most of all I wanted to sing like Roy Orbison." Springsteen originally intended to begin his album with an alarm clock followed by Orbison's song playing over the radio.
- Holden, Stephen (January 1, 1989). "POP VIEW; The Man With the Blue Velvet Voice". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 443.
- "Orbison's widow sues film makers". BBC News. January 1, 2002. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 172.
- Rohter, Larry (July 8, 1991). "In Movies, a Formula Is Born: Hitching One's Star to a Song". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
- Barker, Derek (2009). Liner notes to Bruce Springsteen's Jukebox: The Songs that Inspired the Man [CD]. Chrome Dreams.
"Tell Laura I Love Her" by Ricky Valance
|UK number-one single (Roy Orbison version)
October 20, 1960 (2 weeks)
"It's Now or Never" by Elvis Presley
"To Make Love Sweeter For You"
by Jerry Lee Lewis
|Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
(Sonny James version)
March 8-March 22, 1969
"Who's Gonna Mow Your Grass"
by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos
"The Name of the Game Was Love"
by Hank Snow
|RPM Country Tracks number-one single
(Sonny James version)
April 28, 1969