Roy Orbison’s ‘Oh Pretty Woman’ Named ‘Iconic Riff’
The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum will honor Roy Orbison with the first ever Iconic Riff Award for the memorable opening of his 1964 hit single, “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
Co-written by Orbison and Bill Dees the song became one of Orbison’s biggest hits to date, selling seven million copies and spending three weeks at number one on both the Billboard Hot 100. It has been covered by Al Green, John Mellencamp, Johnny Rivers, Bon Jovi, Green Day and Van Halen, and of course was used at the title for the 1990 blockbuster movie Pretty Woman starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.
“Oh, Pretty Woman” was, in fact, the last song Roy Orbison ever performed. On December 4, 1988, just two days before his sudden passing, he performed at a Cleveland-area venue; that concert performance was taped and is set for release December 3 as The Last Concert – 25th Anniversary Edition through Legacy Recordings. Orbison, typically, closed his shows with “Running Scared,” but the engineer ran out of tape that night almost 25 years ago, thus making his penultimate number, “Oh, Pretty Woman,” the final document of his melodious brilliance.
Another live version – embedded above – was recorded at his famous “comeback” concert, Black And White Night, and featured some of Orbison’s famous fans including Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne and Elvis Costello. That concert was re-issued on DVD last week.
In other Roy news, a new CD package, titled The Monument Boxset, will be released on November 26th. The vinyl-only package will include three classic albums that he recorded with Monument Records: Lonely and Blue, Crying and In Dreams. It will also include a fourth bonus disc that comprises of material that would have made up his fourth album for the label.
– Jude Dsouza, WNCX/Cleveland