top of page

Big O Week Number 1: Ride Away.

In 1963, when the Beatles were having their first big successes, Orbison had 4 UK top twenty hits and in 64 had two number ones, a singular achievement in the days of the Liverpool invasion. But by the time I hit my teens in 1968, Orbison had become synonymous with fairground music, where it was the industry music of choice, particularly on carousels, and thereafter seemed tacky and seedy, so much so that Roy himself tacitly accepted this with his single "Penny Arcade". However, after twenty years or so, memories of this connection faded and people began to appreciate the true genius of the man once more.

Therefore, point this week is to introduce you to terrific tracks by Roy Orbison that you are unlikely to have already heard.

First one is the wonderful "Ride Away" with its great male backing chorus (join in everybody!) - the backing is one of the many strengths of the O. So atmospheric, their entry makes the song take off - again! Before them listen for the bustling accoustic guitars and snare drumming, the entry of the quivering strings, and the way the piano starts off barroom and ends up classical concerto.

This one's for you Stephen - you were talking about the great western songs - this may be about biking, but it's definitely in the tradition of the cowboy figure riding into the sunset, all the way to the gentle but knock-out yearning of the last refrain.

Like a lot of the Big O output, emotionally it just climbs and climbs with a structure that bucks the traditional verse chorus verse chorus middle 8 verse chorus.

Here comes that sunset again:

"ride away, ride away

from tears and sorrow

like there's no tomorrow

tonight I'll ride away"

durn that was so good, I'll have to listen to it again! Ride 'em cowboy!

bottom of page