Sublime voice, false shades...
A bit of a snore bore, I’m afraid. Yes, it does what it says on the can – it is the Roy Orbison story told by the man himself and a host of rock luminaries.
The fact is there wasn’t anything much exceptional about Roy himself. Apart from his God-given voice and timeless song writing ability he comes across as a particularly unassuming and private man. Nothing wrong with that. But it doesn’t make for great TV.
What we do learn over the course of the 92 minute running time is of his ability to deliver drop dead note perfect performances first take, the fact that his sunglasses were nothing more than a prop, and his ability to transcend the personal tragedies in his life – losing his wife in a motorcycle accident and two of his children in a house fire.
What many may not appreciate was that Roy was in at the birth of rock and roll with the likes of Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins. The hits flowed regularly between 1956 and the mid sixties, headlining tours often featuring ‘up and coming’ supporting acts such as the Beatles and Stones. And when his career dipped in America, Britain maintained an almost timeless love affair with the man and his music.
But cream, as they say, rises. And before his death at 52 in 1988, he enjoyed a resurgence of popularity thanks, in the main, to a recognition of his talent by a new generation of rock’s hierarchy – The Bee Gees, Robert Plant, Jeff Lynne, Bono, Springsteen and many others. He became one of the infamous Travelling Wilbury’s and his posthumous album Mystery Girl his biggest seller.
As for this DVD package, there’s lots and lots of contemporary footage, home movies and interviews with the man. It’s packed with homage from those who grew up on his legacy and have been touched by his greatness. Yes, he had a phenomenal voice and wrote a canon of wonderful songs. But don’t expect revelations, this is for fans only.
Review by Pete Whalley