#46: Crying by Roy Orbison with k.d. Lang

City: Hamilton, ON
Radio Station: CKOC
Peak Month: February 1988
Peak Position in Hamilton ~ #5
Peak position in Vancouver ~ #35
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ did not chart
YouTube: “Crying
Lyrics: “Crying

Roy Kelton Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas in 1936. When he turned six his dad gave him a guitar. Both his dad, Orbie Lee, and uncle Charlie Orbison, taught him how to play. Though his family moved to Forth Worth for work at a munitions factory, Roy was sent to live with his grandmother due to a polio outbreak in 1944. That year he wrote his first song “A Vow of Love”. The next year he won a contest on Vernon radio station KVWC and was offered his own radio show on Saturdays. After the war his family reunited and moved to Wink, Texas, where Roy formed his first band, in 1949, called The Wink Westerners.

From 1951 into the mid-50s The Wink Westerners appeared with Roy Orbison on KERB in Kermit, Texas. The band performed at school assemblies and country jamborees sponsored by KERB. In 1953 they played at an International Lions Club Convention in Chicago. After high school, Roy Orbison met two friends in college named Wade Lee Moore and Dick Penner. They’d written a song called “The Ooby Dooby”. The Wink Westerners began to include the song in their performances, including on a TV show on KMID in Midland, which won them a half hour Friday night slot on KMID.

With the advent of Rock and Roll, the Wink Westerners renamed themselves The Teen Kings. In addition to the TV show on KMID, TV station KOSA in Odessa, Texas, gave them a half hour slot on Saturday afternoons. The CBS affiliate also had Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley guest star on Roy Orbison’s KOSA TV show. Johnny Cash got Orbison in touch with Sam Phillips of Sun Records in Memphis. Orbison called Phillips who hung up the phone saying, “Johnny Cash doesn’t run my record company.” Orbison and the Teen Kings began to perform “Ooby Dooby” at gigs around Texas.

Orbison sent the demo of “Ooby Dooby” in late 1955 to Columbia Records, but they weren’t interested. So Orbison offered but the song to a Denton band called Sid King and the Five Strings. They recorded “Ooby Dooby” on March 5, 1956, at a studio in Dallas. Then Orbison got a break and recorded the song at Sun Records later that month.

Orbison had been approached by owners of Je-Wel Records who wanted The Teen Kings to make a record. The session took place in early March, 1956. This time, Roy and The Teen Kings, recorded The Clover’s “Trying to Get to You” along with “Ooby Dooby”. The single was released March 19, 1956. That same day, Orbison took a copy to Cecil “Poppa” Hollifield in Odessa. He was a well-know record dealer in West Texas. “Poppa” Hollifield liked the record and played it on the phone to one of his connections in Memphis. The guy on the other side of the line asked him to send him a copy. His name was Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records. A few days later “Poppa” telephoned Roy to say that Phillips wanted the Teen Kings in Memphis in three days to record for Sun Records.

Roy Orbison and the Teen Kings arrived in Memphis on Monday, March 26, 1956. The next day they re-recorded “Ooby Dooby”. But the band’s follow-up singles failed to chart. The Teen Kings split up in December 1956 and Orbison stayed at Sun until 1958, with all six followup singles commercial flops.

In March 1958, Roy Orbison was offered a spot on an Everly Brothers show in Hammond, Indiana. The Everlys needed a song for their new single and they asked Roy if he had anything. He sang his new composition “Claudette” and they asked him to write the words down. So he did, on the top of a shoebox. Soon Orbison was signed to Acuff-Rose Music Publishing in Nashville, and he also got a contract with RCA Victor where he briefly worked with Chet Atkins. The Everly’s “Claudette” was the B-side of “All I Have To Do Is Dream”. The A side went to #1 while “Claudette” climbed to #30 on the Billboard Hot 100. Orbison had more of his songs recorded by Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Ricky Nelson and Cliff Richard.

By the fall of 1959 Orbison got a new record contract with Monument Records. They released “Uptown” which had strings as opposed to fiddles, which were not very common in Nashville. It was Orbison’s biggest hit since “Ooby Dooby”. But his next release was a smash hit. “Only The Lonely” Climbed to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and #1 in the UK. His follow-up top ten hit was “Blue Angel”.

Orbison had another #1 hit in April 1961 here in Vancouver and in the USA with “Running Scared”. The song debuted at #11 on CKWX and #9 on CFUN. It climbed to #1 on April 15, 1961, on CKWX topping the charts for three weeks. The songs’ production and the performance were unusual for the time, as Monument Records was willing to spend more money on production than many other record labels.

The hits kept on coming for Roy Orbison in 1961 with “Love Hurts“, “Crying”, “Dream Baby”, “In Dreams”, “Candy Man”, “The Actress”, and many other Top 40 singles. In the spring of 1962, Orbison released “Lana”.

In the late of 1962, Orbison released “Leah”. In 1964, Roy Orbison topped the charts with “Oh, Pretty Woman”. He also had a Top Ten hit with “It’s Over” in the spring of ’64.

In June 1966, Orbison’s wife, Claudette, was killed in a motorcycle accident in Tennessee. Orbison had released ten singles since “Oh Pretty Woman” topped the pop charts. But only two of these had cracked the Top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100, with “Goodnight” charting best to peak at #21. His final single release in 1966 was “Communication Breakdown”. In 1968, tragedy struck again when two of his three children died in a fire that burned down his house in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Kathryn Dawn Lang was born in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1961. When she was nine her family moved to the town of Consort, Alberta, where her father ran a drug store. After secondary school, lang attended Red Deer College, where she became fascinated with the life and music of Patsy Cline and decided to pursue a career as a professional singer. She moved to Edmonton after her graduation in 1982 and formed a Patsy Cline tribute band called the Reclines in 1983. She and the Reclines recorded their debut single, “Friday Dance Promenade”, at Sundown Recorders.

The Reclines regularly played Edmonton’s popular Sidetrack Cafe, a local venue that featured live bands six nights a week. In 1983, lang presented a performance-art piece, a seven-hour re-enactment of the transplantation of an artificial heart for Barney Clark, a retired American dentist. A Truly Western Experience was released in 1984 and received strong reviews and led to national attention in Canada. She explained that her use of lower case spelling for her name – k.d. lang – was inspired by the Massachusetts poet e.e. cummings. In August 1984, lang was one of three Canadian artists to be selected to perform at the World Science Fair in Tsukuba, Japan.

Singing at country and western venues in Canada, lang began to establish an appearance and style referred to as “cowboy punk”. She was called a “Canadian Cowpunk” in the June 20, 1985, issue of Rolling Stone. She would later recall the inspiration for her defining look in an interview with The Canadian Press: “I used to sew plastic cowboys and Indians on my clothes – just having fun with it on a budget. I was broke at the time, so I’d find things at Value Village or get my mom to make me a skirt from the curtains she was about to throw out. I loved playing with the clothes as much as the music.”

In 1985, lang won the Most Promising Female Vocalist at the Juno Awards. She accepted the award wearing a wedding dress borrowed from her male roommate at the time. She also made numerous tongue-in-cheek promises about what she would and would not do in the future, thus fulfilling the title of ‘Most Promising’. In 1987, she released the album Angel with a Lariat. From the album came “Turn Me Around”. This was followed by her cover of the 1970 Lynn Anderson single “Rose Garden”.

In 1987 kd lang and Roy Orbison recorded a duet of Orbison’s 1961 hit, “Crying”.

Crying by Roy Orbison with k.d. Lang

“Crying” is a song written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson. Born in 1935, Joe Melson was raised on a cotton plantation in Texas. He was a contributing writer on numerous Orbison hits. These include “Uptown”, “Only The Lonely”, “Blue Angel”, “I’m Hurtin'”, “Running Scared”, “Crying”, “The Crowd”, “The Actress”, and “Blue Bayou”. Melson also wrote a Top 20 hit in the USA for the Newbeats titled “Run, Baby Run”. Melson has been inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

“Crying” is a song about the impact of the presence of an ex on their ex-lover: “It’s hard to understand, but the touch of your hand can start me crying. I thought that I was over you, but it’s true… I love you even more than I did before.” The predicament of an ex-partner carrying on with their life while the narrator of the song is falling apart is poignant, and tragic. The emotive vocals underscore the plight of the narrator, especially since “you don’t love me, and I’ll always be crying over you.”

“Crying” peaked at #5 in Hamilton (ON), #8 in Sydney (NS), and #18 in Burnaby (BC). Internationally, the single climbed to #9 in Ireland, and #13 in the UK.

In 1989, Orbison and lang won a Grammy Award for the duet in the Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.

Next, Orbison sang with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan, in a group called the Traveling Wilburys. Their single, “Handle With Care”, climbed to #9 in Vancouver and #45 on the Billboard Hot 100. Roy Orbison died dead at 52 from a heart attack on December 6, 1988. Two days prior, he gave his last interview and discussed the buzz at the time that Martin Sheen might play Orbison in a biopic about his life. In April, 1989, Roy Orbison’s posthumous single, “You Got It”, climbed to #6 on CKLG in Vancouver.

kd lang earned international recognition in 1988 when she performed as “The Alberta Rose” at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympiics in Calgary, Alberta. Canadian women’s magazine Chatelaine selected lang as its “Woman of the Year” in 1988. Later in 1988, k.d. lang released Shadowland, which climbed to #9 on the Canadian RPM Album chart. In 1989, lang shared a Grammy Award with Roy Orbison for their duet performance of “Crying” in the Best Country Vocal Collaboration category.

In 1990, lang released her third studio album, Absolute Torch and Twang. It led to a second Grammy Award, this time in the Best Female Country Performance category. The album also charted to #8 on the Canadian Country album chart. In 1991 she appeared in the film Salmonberries. In 1992, lang came out as a lesbian and has championed LGBT rights. In 2011, she was inducted into the Q Hall of Fame Canada for furthering equality of all peoples.

In 1992 she released the album Ingénue. It received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year, but lost to Unplugged by Eric Clapton. At the Juno Awards, k.d. lang took home the Best Album award for Ingénue. The album peaked at #1 in New Zealand, #3 in Australia and the UK, and #18 on the Billboard 200 Album chart. At the same Grammy Award gala in 1993, lang received three Grammy nominations for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for “Constant Craving”. In the latter category, she won the Grammy. k.d. lang was again nominated in the Best Female Country Vocal Performance category at the 1994 Grammy Awards for her recording of the single “Miss Chatelaine”. In 1993 at the Juno Awards, k.d. lang won awards for Songwriter of the Year and Best Producer. This was on top of her “Most Promising…” award in 1985 and twice winning Country Female Vocalist of the Year awards at the Junos in 1989 and 1990.

In 1994, she appeared in an action-comedy film titled Teresa’s Tattoo. In 1999, k.d. lang appeared in the mystery thriller Eye of the Beholder.

In 1995, k.d. lang released All You Can Eat. The album climbed to #1 in New Zealand, #3 in Australia, #7 in the UK and #10 in on the pop album chart in Canada. Her 1997 release of Drag was less commercially successful, though it made the Top Ten on the album charts in Australia, peaking at #4. Her 2000 release of Invincible Summer saw her return to the Top Ten on the Canadian RPM album chart at #12 in Australia.

Over the years, k.d. lang has received 16 Juno Award nominations, and won six times. Her last Juno nomination was in 2005 for Artist of the Year for her 2004 album Hymns of the 49th Parallel. The album climbed to #2 on the Canadian RPM Album chart and #3 in Australia. Her 2008 album release, Watershed, peaked at #1 in New Zealand, #3 in Canada and #8 on the Billboard 200 Album chart. In 2012 her album with The Siss Boom Bang, Sing It Loud, peaked at #7 on the Canadian RPM Album chart, and #2 in Australia.

In 1995, k.d. lang received a Grammy Award nomination for “Moonglow” in a duet with Tony Bennett in the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals category. In 2003, she received two more Grammy Award nominations for more duets with Tony Bennett in the same category for “What A Wonderful World” and “La Vie En Rose”. Finally, in 2005 Bennett and lang received a Grammy Award for A Wonderful World in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category.

In 2006, lang appeared as a lounge singer in the film The Black Dahlia. In 2010, k.d. lang performed the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah” at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In 2013, she was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the Juno Awards. In 2016, she released the album case/lang/veirs with fellow musicians Neko Case and Laura Veirs.

In January 2018 it was announced that Roy Orbison will be going on tour again, in hologram form. On November 23, 2018, a vinyl double album titled Unchained Melodies: Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will be released. It includes “Falling” as one of its tracks. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has previously released three albums featuring songs by Elvis Presley. And in 2017 there was a release of the album titled A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It featured “Love Hurts”, “Oh, Pretty Woman”, and others.

June 24, 2024
Ray McGinnis

Cherie Hu, “30 Years After His Death, Roy Orbison Is Going On Tour Again – In Hologram Form,” Billboard, Los Angeles, January 11, 2018
Steve Pond, “Roy Orbison’s Triumphs and Tragedies,” Rolling Stone, January 26, 1989.
Unchained Melodies: Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sony Music, November 23, 2018.
A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison & The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sony Music, November 3, 2017.
Tony Weber, “Roy Orbison Interview,” Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, December 4, 1988.
About k.d. lang,” kdlang.com.
David Friend, “‘Hard to unravel:’ k.d. lang reflects on her career and coming out,” CBC, July 1, 2016.
Katie Underwood, “Women of the year throwback: 8 Canadians who rocked the ’80s and ’90s,” Chatelaine, November 24, 2016.
k.d. lang’s fellow musicians on her Canadian Music Hall of Fame induction: ‘She deserved to be there a long time ago’,” National Post, April 21, 2013.
Richard Harrington, “Cattle Country’s Beef with k.d. lang,” Washington Post, July 2, 1990.
About Joe Melson,” joemelson.com.

Crying by Roy Orbison with k.d. Lang

CKOC 1150-AM Hamilton (ON) Top Ten | February 17, 1988

Leave a Reply

Sign Up For Our Newsletter