The Roy Orbison Story,
Tour 2, 2003
Courtesy: firstname.lastname@example.org - Posted October 30, 2003
The Roy Orbison Story kicked off another tour in September. Following
are the rest of the dates for the year. October 27-Nov. 1: Lyceum
Theatre, Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Nov 3 -8th: The Congress Theatre,
Eastbourne, East Sussex. Nov 10-15th: Birmingham Hippodrome, Birmingham.
Nov 17-22nd: Grand Theatre, Blackpool, Lancashire. November 24-29th:
Theatre Royal, Nottingham. For more information please contact Bill
Kenwright Ltd. at 020 7446 6200 or email: email@example.com.
The Roy Orbison Story chronicles the life and times of a classic figure
from a bygone era of popular music. This musical presentation captures
the spirit of the legendary singer/songwriter through a combination of
narration and music. From his birth in West Texas to his death in 1988,
his story is told by his brother Sam, who traveled with Roy as his
business manager for many years. The songs are delivered by Bernie
Jessome and a full band as the history winds from the early years in
Texas, through the triumphs and tragedies, until the story ends in 1988.
The first show deals with Roy Orbison's early years as his life unfolds
in West Texas and he reaches the decisions that lead him into a lifelong
commitment to music. His friendships with Pat Boone, Elvis Presley and
Johnny Cash, his early attempts at recording, his association with Sun
Records, his development as a songwriter, his life on the road and the
breakthrough recordings that led to a phenomenal string of million
selling records, are all recounted here in story and song. Audiences are
treated to wonderful presentations of Ooby, Dooby, Only The Lonely, Blue
Angel, Running Scared, Crying and Dream Baby as they are taken back to a
time when music was made to last a lifetime.
The second show takes the audience through the triumphs and tragedies
that characterized the life of Roy Orbison throughout the sixties and
beyond. More million selling records and his time in Europe and Great
Britain, where a young English band called The Beatles was hired to open
for him on his concert tour. The tragic death of his wife and the loss
of his two sons are described. His triumph over the dark days and his
faith in his music lead to work with Bob Dylan and George Harrison. His
return to the top of the charts and his induction into the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame are all a part of the story. In Dreams, Workin' For The
Man, Mean Woman Blues, Blue Bayou, It's Over, You Got It, Pretty Woman
and, what many people consider the most compelling voice in music, are
all part of the story too.
Profile of Sam Orbison
Guarding A Legacy
Since 1975, Sam Orbison's life has been dedicated to working for his
brother Roy. But during the time since he found his brother dead of a
heart attack on December 6, 1988, Sam has remained focused on his
biggest challenge of all-to maintain the legacy of the legendary
It is clear that while Roy's widow, Barbara, carries the responsibility
of handling her husband's estate, Sam has undeniably become the guardian
of his brother's image. At a press conference in Vancouver, Canada, he
noted that Roy was always saddened by the sordid treatment of Elvis
Presley in the aftermath of his death in 1977. In a later interview he
challenged anyone who would sensationalize his brother's
heartbreak-filled but dignified life. "They are welcome to try and dig
up any negative stuff," he said with quiet confidence. "There's nothing
there to find."
With the success of his collaboration with Bob Dylan, George Harrison,
Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty as the Traveling Wilburys, and also his duet
with k.d. lang on Crying, Roy Orbison was enjoying his greatest period
of popularity in twenty-five years. The normally private, reticent
singer was adjusting to his higher profile. "He was coming out a bit,"
Sam said. "Barbara felt it was something he ought to do. He would spend
time at a shopping centre. He was going out in public and he never would
have done that before."
During the early part of 1994 Sam Orbison was asked to help develop a
musical presentation of his brother's career. The show was to have its
basis in a narrative accounting of Roy Orbison's life from his birth in
West Texas to his death in 1988. Throughout the commentary, which is
delivered live and in person by Sam Orbison, the music of Roy Orbison is
sung by one of North America's premier Orbison impersonators, Bernie
Jessome, and is supported by a fully live backup band. Bernie's work
with The Legends of Rock and Roll in Canada, and with American
Superstars throughout the United States, brought him to the attention of
Sam Orbison. It was Bernie Jessome's selection to portray Roy Orbison
that actually assured Sam's position as one of the show's producers.
Profile of Bernie Jessome
The Story of Roy Orbison Comes Alive
Bernie Jessome is one of North America's finest Roy Orbison
impersonators. His delivery of hits like Pretty Woman and Only The
Lonely reveals an incredible wide range voice mirroring the remarkable
presence of Roy Orbison. There is always a hush in the room when Jessome
takes centre stage as the hit singer/songwriter.
Born in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, home for the long time musician has been
Toronto, Canada. He began his musical career singing with The Esquires
and as his career took off he found himself opening for his idol Roy
Orbison and groups like The Beach Boys and The Rolling Stones. In 1991
he formed a Roy Orbison Tribute production called Shades of Yesterday.
He then connected with the huge Legends of Rock and Roll organization
and toured Canada cast in the role of Roy Orbison. Bernie has performed
throughout the United States and spent more than a year with the U.S.
based American Superstars. His spellbinding performances as Roy Orbison
throughout England during the spring of 1995 were the talk of the
theatre circuit. He has performed in Las Vegas and most recently spent
four months performing at the Grand Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. His
affiliation with Sam Orbison and The Roy Orbison Story is nearing two
Touring the continent as his idol in The Roy Orbison Story, Bernie
Jessome is having the time of his life. The time and thought that went
into the production of the show are remarkable. The extremely high
calibre of the participants, the involvement of Sam Orbison and the warm
and welcome reception from Roy Orbison fans throughout North America
make this presentation a truly wonderful experience.
Jessome comments, "Orbison was, in the eyes of Elvis Presley and many
other great musicians, the best singer in the world. The tragedies of
losing his wife in a motorcycle accident in 1966 and two years later
losing two of his three sons to a house fire, didn't stop this unique
person from continuing his musical work. He is a true legend and it is a
privilege to sing in the memory of the irreplaceable Roy Orbison."
Profile of Roy Orbison
Born in Kelton, Texas, in April of 1936, he was one of the original Sun
Records rockabilly artists and went on to become one of the most
distinctive singers of the rock and roll era. Along with Elvis Presley,
Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, he was a
country-bred musician considered highly influential in the worldwide
rise of the music that defined a generation.
While he was young his family moved to the oil town of Wink, where his
father supervised crews in the oil fields. As might be expected of a boy
growing up in Texas, his early influences were almost all country and
gospel based. His father and uncle were both music fans, and had Roy
singing at shows and on radio before he was ten. By the time he was in
his early teens, Roy and his band, the Wink Westerners, were traveling
all around West Texas. When he was sixteen he represented The State of
Texas at the International Lions Convention in Chicago.
Roy spent two years at North Texas State University, outside Dallas-Fort
Worth. He had planned to study geology because of his father's work in
the oil fields. While at North Texas State, he met a young theatre
student with show-business ambitions named Pat Boone. Boone encouraged
him to pursue his music and Roy decided to take the advice and put
together a new band. His live performances brought him into contact with
a young Johnny Cash who helped get his material into the hands of Sun
Records owner Sam Phillips. The result was his first hit record, Ooby
Dooby, released in 1956.
After leaving Sun, Roy moved to Nashville and became a songwriter for
Acuff-Rose Publishing. In 1960 he offered one of his new compositions to
Elvis Presley and then to the Everly Brothers. After having no success
in getting either to record the song, he decided to do it himself. The
result was the smash hit record, Only The Lonely. He had discovered the
magic and defined his trademark style. The next few years brought more
hit records. Running Scared, Crying, Candy Man, Dream Baby, In Dreams,
Mean Woman Blues, Blue Bayou, It's Over and Pretty Woman all helped
propel Roy Orbison to become one of the biggest stars of his generation.
In 1963 The Beatles felt privileged to tour with him throughout England.
The rapport he established with European fans remained strong for
Tragedy struck Roy Orbison in 1966. His wife Claudette was killed as a
result of a motorcycle accident. Stunned and disorganized, he sought
escape in an ever more intensive concert schedule. He was finding it
difficult to work his way out of the turmoil and spent the months just
surviving. By 1967 it seemed that Roy had weathered out the storm. He
was finding it easier to write songs again and plans were started for
recording sessions set toward the release of a new album. Then tragedy
struck again with twice the force. A fire at his Nashville home killed
two of his three children. After weeks of grief he gave up writing to
immerse himself in the grinding world of concert touring.
Through the years that followed, Roy Orbison kept up a flurry of
activity. He re-recorded many of his old hits and released them on a
retrospective album. He teamed up with many top contemporary artists
like Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, k.d. lang, and Jackson Brown to
film a concert for HBO called, A Black and White Night Live, which
produced an album of the same name. He toured constantly in Europe and
Asia. He formed a new group with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and
George Harrison called the Traveling Wilburys and they performed
masquerading as a band of brothers. Roy was known as Lefty Wilbury. He
won his first Grammy Award for the song, That Lovin' You Feelin' Again,
recorded with Emmylou Harris in 1980. The program, Salute To Roy
Orbison, was taped at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles for presentation
as a Cinemax cable special. In late 1986, officials at the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame announced that Roy would be one of the new inductees.
Everything was set for a full-fledged comeback when his brother Sam
found him dead of a heart attack in Hendersonville, Tennessee on
December 6, 1988.
Roy Orbison's voice was one of the most remarkable instruments in music.
He never battled the arrangements. His voice established the mood and
the arrangements were crafted to heighten the tension that mirrored the
atmosphere of his stories. He delivered songs that broke the standard
song writing formula and came on instead like mini-operas on a scale
that matched the emotions the lyrics described. At the induction dinner
for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, held in 1987, Bruce Springsteen
introduced one of his heroes. Said Springsteen, "When I went into the
studio to record the album, Born To Run, I wanted to make a record with
words like Bob Dylan that sounded like Phil Spector. But most of all, I
wanted to sing like Roy Orbison. Now, everybody knows, nobody sings like
Rockabilly Hall of Fame ®