In Dreams: The Greatest Hits is a two-record album set of Roy Orbison songs released in 1987 on Virgin Records. It was produced by Orbison and Mike Utley, except for the song "In Dreams", produced by Orbison with T Bone Burnett and film director David Lynch. All songs are new recordings by Orbison from 1985, except "In Dreams" from April 1987.
One track, "Uptown", was recorded by Robert Gordon as a tribute to Orbison. "Leah" appeared on an album recorded by Bertie Higgins. The original 1960s versions of these songs were hit records for Orbison when recorded on Monument Records from 1960 to 1964, with two exceptions. The first exception, "Ooby Dooby", was a hit for Orbison on Sun Records in 1956. "Claudette", the second exception, was a song Orbison wrote that became a hit for the Everly Brothers in 1958. Orbison didn't record the latter exception until he had signed with MGM Records in 1965, ironically, a few months after he had divorced his wife Claudette, who had inspired the song. (They later reconciled and remarried in 1966, before her death in a motorcycle accident).
The album contains four songs named by Rolling Stone in 2004 on its list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
In 1985, Roy Orbison re-recorded 19 of his greatest hits as a gift to his fans. The master tapes of the original recordings were being legally held by Monument Records after the label went bankrupt in the late 1970s. Many of Orbison’s famous songs were not available to consumers for a few years and there was a threat to destroy the tapes if disputes were not resolved. Fearing his famous songs would be lost forever, Orbison stepped into the studio and performed them once again. This was his first album with Virgin Records.
Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988) was an American singer-songwriter and musician, well known for his distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads. Orbison grew up in Texas and began singing in a rockabilly / country & western band in high school until he was signed by Sun Records in Memphis. His greatest success came with Monument Records in the early to mid 1960s when 22 of his songs placed on the US Billboard Top Forty, including "Only the Lonely", "Crying", "In Dreams", and "Oh, Pretty Woman". His career stagnated through the 1970s, but several covers of his songs and the use of one in a film by David Lynch revived his career in the 1980s. In 1988, he joined the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne and also released a new solo album. He died of a heart attack in December that year, at the zenith of his resurgence. His life was marred with tragedy, including the death of his first wife and two of his children in separate accidents.
Orbison was a natural baritone, yet could sing high tenor notes with ease; commentators have suggested that he had a three- or four-octave range. The combination of Orbison's powerful, impassioned voice and complex musical arrangements led many commentators to refer to his music as operatic, giving him the sobriquet "the Caruso of Rock". Performers as disparate as Elvis Presley and Bono stated his voice was, respectively, the greatest and most distinctive they had ever heard. While most men in rock and roll in the 1950s and 1960s portrayed a defiant masculinity, many of Orbison's songs instead conveyed a quiet, desperate vulnerability. He was known for performing while standing still and solitary, wearing black clothes and dark sunglasses which lent an air of mystery to his persona.
Orbison was initiated into the second class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 by longtime admirer Bruce Springsteen. The same year he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone placed Orbison at number 37 in their list of The Greatest Artists of All Time. In 2002, Billboard magazine listed Orbison at number 74 in the Top 600 recording artists. Rolling Stone rated Orbison number 13 in their list of The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time in 2008.
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