Monday, June 05, 2006
Candy colored clown they call the sandman
Riding out the last hours before the Apocalypse, I count myself lucky to end on a really high note. No, I'm not referencing "Cheech and Chong" (not directly, anyway), but "In Dreams," a fantastic Roy Orbison documentary. My soul may be damned, but it will be soothed.
I didn't discover Orbison until my first viewing of "Blue Velvet." Sure, I had heard of him, but I was still at that age when anyone associated with the 1950s held no interest. But there was no ignoring the fact that "In Dreams" was inherently cool, regardless of its era. (By association, the scene in "Blue Velvet" framed by that song -- with Dean Stockwell's groupies dancing on top of a car -- rates as the coolest in filmdom.
"I thought all along it was going to be 'Crying' in 'Blue Velvet,'" said David Lynch, who changed his mind after buying an Orbison greatest hits cassette and hearing "In Dreams" for the first time. After that, "I completely forgot about 'Crying.'")
It remains my favorite Orbison song, with "Running Scared" close behind. As I watched the doc, songwriter Bernie Taupin clued me into something about the latter tune I had never considered -- there's no chorus. It thrives on Orbison's incomprable voice, a chrous in itself. It stands alone otherwise as being one of the few Orbison songs where Roy gets the girl.
As popular as "The Big O" was, imagine if he had looked, and moved, like Elvis, and vice-versa. No one would be going to Graceland; instead, the pilgrims would be headed to Vernon, Texas, birthplace of the greatest voice we'll ever know.
My Top 10 Orbison songs: