WCSX Classic Cuts
Roy Orbison: “Oh, Pretty Woman”
The Hook: He played a show with The Beatles in 1963 and went to number-one with “Pretty Woman” during the height of the British Invasion a year later.
Year: 1964 (single), 1965 (album)
Writers: Roy Orbison and Bill Dees
Stats: Topped the Billboard Hot 100.
Background: Roy Orbison’s “Oh, Pretty Woman” is one of rock’s enduring classics, whether it’s his own 1964 version (which went to number-one at the height of the British Invasion), the 1982 cover by Van Halen or the rendition by Bruce Springsteen and John Fogerty at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert in 2009. Here’s what Orbison had to say about the song in a 1988 interview.
Roy Orbison on what “Oh, Pretty Woman” has meant to him. OC:…of that. :30
“It was written at an ideal time. I had done a show with The Beatles in England in ’63 and from that point we both gained popularity internationally. My popularity had been building since ’60 and theirs since about ’62 or ’63. So in ’64, I was voted the number-one male vocalist in the world, and in large measure, I think, to ‘Pretty Woman.’ I remember Chet Atkins giving me a call and saying, ‘That’s the best rock ’n’ roll record ever made,’ and Bruce Springsteen called it the greatest girl watching song ever written. I’m really proud of that.”