Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Roy Orbison -- "It's Over" (1964)

All the rainbows in the sky
Start to weep, then say "Goodbye"
You won't be seeing rainbows any more
Setting suns before they fall 
Echo to you, "That's all, that's all"
But you'll see lonely sunsets after all
It's over, it's over, it's over -- 
It's over!

I was walking my dog in the pouring rain one morning last week when this song popped up unexpectedly on my backup iPod.  How did it know that I was planning to do a post featuring photos and videos of Cape Cod rainbows and sunsets? 

The appearance of "It's Over" on that iPod was timely for another reason.  Something is over for me today, and I had been mulling over what song I would use to observe the occasion.   

Roy Orbison
The lyrics quoted above aren't particularly convincing when you see them in print.  They're sentimental, even maudlin -- perhaps a little over the top for most of us.  But when Roy Orbison sings them, the effect is overpowering.  

Elvis Presley and Bono (among others) have said that Orbison had the greatest and most distinctive voice they had ever heard.  His range was extraordinary, and his singing strikes the perfect balance between passion and restraint.  

Unlike many singers of his era, Orbison had no swagger when he performed.  He didn't rely on sex appeal or charm or charisma to win over his audiences -- he relied on his voice and his music.

In 1963, Orbison was asked to headline a tour of the UK that included the Beatles.  The tour kicked off months before the first Beatles single was released in the US, so Orbison was unfamiliar with them.  

Although was nominally the headliner, he chose to go on stage first on the opening night of the tour.  The "Fab Four" -- whose live performances were raucous and uninhibited -- watched as Orbison stood completely still as he sang, trusting his voice and his music to win over the audience.

Orbison with the Beatles (1963)
Orbison left the stage that night after performing fourteen encores -- the crowd continued to chant his name until the Beatles took the stage.     

When we were on Cape Cod last month, my family and I came home from dinner one night to an extraordinary double rainbow.  This photo doesn't do it justice:

Here's a video that shows how that towering rainbow seemed to be located directly over our house:

We're used to seeing wonderful sunsets when we're there.  But the sunset we saw that night was as extraordinary as the rainbow.

Here's a picture of my older son and one of my twin daughters enjoying the view:

Here's one more view of that sunset:

Here's Roy Orbison singing "It's Over."  It has a somewhat complex structure, although you don't really notice that unless you pay close attention:

I believe this video was made in 1988 -- the year Orbison died:

Here's a link you can use to buy "It's Over" from Amazon:

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