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Best Songs By Roy Orbison
On The Acoustic

best songs by roy orbison

Welcome to my best songs by Roy Orbison section where you'll find songs from Roy Orbison you can learn on the acoustic guitar.

You'll find free demos, sample videos, chord sheets, rhythm tips and more. If you require a full instructional video tutorial you can get one for a small fee. Discount pricing listed above.

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Best Songs By Roy Orbison
Chords, Samples, Demos, Tutorials

1. California Blue

california blue guitar lesson

California Blue is a song that was written and recorded by Roy Orbison for his 1989 album "Mystery Girl."

The song features Orbison's signature operatic vocals and a melodic, guitar-driven arrangement that is both catchy and haunting. Lyrically, the song is a nostalgic tribute to the state of California and its natural beauty, with Orbison singing about the blue skies, the ocean, and the mountains.

The recording of "California Blue" was produced by Jeff Lynne, who was a longtime friend and collaborator of Orbison's. Lynne also played guitar on the track, and he used his signature production style to create a lush, layered sound that complemented Orbison's vocals perfectly.

Upon its release, "California Blue" was praised by critics and fans alike, and it became a fan favorite from the "Mystery Girl" album. The song was also released as a single, and it reached the top 40 on the UK Singles Chart.

Overall, "California Blue" is a beautiful and heartfelt song that showcases Roy Orbison's unique talent as a singer and songwriter. It remains a beloved and iconic track in his catalog, and it is a fitting tribute to the beauty of the state of California.

Download the free Roy Orbison California Blue lyrics below.

  • Drop D Tuning: Yes
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down up root up down up and repeat
  • Picking: No
  • Chords: D, G, Em, A7
Chords & Lyrics

 

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2. Crying

crying roy orbison

Crying is one of Roy Orbison's most iconic and beloved songs, and it was a big hit for him in the early 1960s.

The song features Orbison's distinctive vocals, which combine elements of rock and roll, country, and opera to create a powerful and emotional sound. Lyrically, the song is a heart-wrenching plea to a former lover, with Orbison singing about his feelings of loneliness and despair.

"Crying" was written by Orbison and his frequent collaborator Joe Melson, and it was produced by Fred Foster. The recording features a dramatic string section, as well as a soaring guitar solo that has become one of the most famous in rock and roll history.

Upon its release in 1961, "Crying" became a huge hit for Orbison, reaching number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and number one on the Cash Box chart. The song also did well internationally, charting in countries like the UK, Canada, and Australia.

Over the years, "Crying" has become one of Roy Orbison's most enduring and iconic songs, and it has been covered by many other artists, including Don McLean, K.D. Lang, and even Orbison's own supergroup, The Traveling Wilburys.

Download the Crying Roy Orbison chords and lyrics below.

  • Drop D Tuning: Yes
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down up down up root up down up and repeat
  • Picking: No
  • Chords: G, Gaug, C, Cm, D7, Bm
Chords & Lyrics

 

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3. Dream Baby

dream by roy orbison

Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)" is a song written and recorded by Roy Orbison, and was released as a single in 1962. The song was produced by Fred Foster for Monument Records.

The song is a mid-tempo rock and roll number that features Orbison's signature soaring vocals and a prominent electric guitar riff. The lyrics describe the singer's longing for a girl who is out of reach, and his frustration at not being able to be with her. The chorus, "Dream baby, got me dreamin' sweet dreams, the whole day through", is a catchy and memorable hook that helped make the song a hit.

"Dream Baby" was a commercial success for Orbison, reaching No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States and No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart. It has since become a classic of the rock and roll era, and has been covered by numerous artists in various genres.

Interestingly, the song was originally written as a country ballad, but Orbison and Foster decided to re-arrange it as a rock and roll number during the recording process. The song's success helped solidify Orbison's status as one of the most distinctive and influential voices of his generation.

The song was later included on a greatest hits album. This is one of those Roy Orbison best songs in my opinion.

Glen Campbell covered the song in 1971.

  • Drop D Tuning: Yes
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down root up down up and repeat
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: A7, D
Chords & Lyrics

 

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4. Drove All Night

i drove all night roy orbison

I Drove All Night is a song that was written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, and was originally recorded by Cyndi Lauper in 1989. However, Roy Orbison recorded his own version of the song in 1987, which remained unreleased until after his death in 1988.

Orbison's version of "I Drove All Night" was produced by T Bone Burnett, and features his signature powerful vocals and a lush, atmospheric arrangement. The song is a passionate and driving rock ballad that tells the story of a man who is willing to go to great lengths to be reunited with his lover. The chorus, "I drove all night, crept in your room, woke you from your sleep, to make love to you", is a standout moment in the song, and showcases Orbison's ability to convey intense emotion through his singing.

Despite not being released until after Orbison's death, "I Drove All Night" has become one of his most popular and well-known songs. It has been covered by a number of artists, including Celine Dion, who had a hit with her version of the song in 2003. The song's enduring popularity is a testament to Orbison's timeless talent as a singer and performer.

The track can be found on the Orbison album "King Of Hearts".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: Yes
  • Rhythm: down down up down up down up and repeat
  • Picking: a little in the rhythm
  • Chords: A, G, D, Bm, Gbm
Chords & Lyrics

 

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5. In Dreams

indreams

In Dreams was written and recorded by Roy Orbison in 1963. The song was produced by Fred Foster for Monument Records.

The song is a slow, dramatic ballad that features Orbison's signature operatic vocals and a haunting melody. The lyrics describe a dream world where the singer is reunited with his lost love, and where they can be together forever. The chorus, "In dreams I walk with you, in dreams I talk to you", is a poignant and memorable hook that helped make the song a hit.

"In Dreams" was a commercial and critical success for Orbison, reaching No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, and No. 6 on the UK Singles Chart. The song has since become a classic of the rock and roll era, and has been covered by numerous artists in various genres.

One of the most distinctive features of the song is Orbison's use of falsetto, particularly in the chorus. His ability to seamlessly transition between his powerful natural singing voice and a high falsetto helped make him one of the most versatile and talented vocalists of his generation.

"In Dreams" is widely regarded as one of Orbison's greatest songs, and remains a testament to his enduring legacy as a singer, songwriter, and performer.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down up down down root up down up and repeat
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: C, Am, Dm, G7, D, Fm
Chords & Lyrics

 


6. Mean Woman Blues

mean woman blues roy orbison

Mean Woman Blues was actually written by Claude Demetrius and first recorded by Elvis Presley in 1957. However, Roy Orbison also recorded a version of the song in 1963, which became a hit for him.

Orbison's version of "Mean Woman Blues" was produced by Fred Foster for Monument Records, and features his trademark powerful vocals and a driving rock and roll rhythm. The song is a classic example of the rockabilly genre, and showcases Orbison's ability to infuse his own style and personality into well-known standards.

"Mean Woman Blues" was a commercial success for Orbison, reaching No. 5 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 11 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song's popularity helped solidify Orbison's status as one of the most distinctive and influential voices of his generation, and contributed to his lasting legacy as a pioneer of rock and roll music.

Interestingly, Orbison was known for his unique approach to covering other artists' songs, and was able to add his own personal touch to even the most well-known tracks. His version of "Mean Woman Blues" is a prime example of his ability to breathe new life into classic rock and roll songs, and helped establish him as one of the most innovative and creative musicians of his time.

Mean Woman Blues appeared in Elvis Presley's 1957 film "Loving You".

The song eventually appeared on the Roy Orbison album "The All-Time Greatest Hits Of Roy Orbison".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: downstrokes with an up stroke thrown in
  • Picking: Yes
  • Chords: A, D, E
Chords & Lyrics

 

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7. Only The Lonely

only the lonely roy orbison

Only The Lonely was co-written by Roy Orbison with Joe Melson at a time when he did not have much success in the music biz during the early part of 1960.

They pitched the song to a guy named Elvis and a couple of brothers calling themselves The Everly Brothers, but both of them refused to record the song.

Roy Orbison's version of "Only The Lonely" was a huge success. The song was released in 1960 and reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, staying in the top 40 for 14 weeks. It also reached number one on the Cashbox Top 100 chart and number one on the UK Singles Chart.

The song's success helped establish Roy Orbison as a major recording artist and songwriter, and it was the first of many hits he would have throughout the 1960s. "Only The Lonely" has since become one of Orbison's signature songs and a classic of the rock and roll era.

When Elvis first heard the song, he bought a box of records and handed them out to friends.

The song can be found on Roy's album "Lonely And Blue".

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down up down up root up down up
  • Picking: No
  • Chords: Fm, Gm, C7, A#, C, F, G7
Chords & Lyrics

 

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8. Ooby Dooby

ooby dooby roy orbison

Ooby Dooby is a rock and roll song written by Wade Lee Moore and Dick Penner and was first heard by Roy Orbison while in high school well before he got a record deal. Then it was first recorded by a band called The Teen Kings, featuring a young Roy Orbison on vocals, in 1956 on the Sun label, where Elvis and Johnny Cash first recorded.

The song has a catchy, upbeat rhythm and features Orbison's distinctive vocals, which would become a trademark of his later work. "Ooby Dooby" was a regional hit in Orbison's home state of Texas, and it helped to establish his career as a recording artist.

The song was later covered by several other artists, including Creedence Clearwater Revival, who had a hit with their version in 1972. "Ooby Dooby" remains a popular and enduring rock and roll classic, and it is often included in Orbison's live performances and retrospective compilation albums over the years.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down up down up down up and repeat
  • Picking: a little in the rhythm
  • Chords: B7, A7, E
Chords & Lyrics

 

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9. Pretty Paper

pretty paper roy orbison

Pretty Paper is a Christmas song that was written by Willie Nelson in 1963. The song tells the story of a street vendor selling colorful Christmas wrapping paper and ribbons on a cold winter day. As people rush by, the vendor wonders about their lives and what they might be doing for the holiday.

Roy Orbison recorded the song in the same year it was written, and his version became a hit, reaching number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Orbison's soaring, emotive vocals added a sense of longing and poignancy to the song's lyrics, making it a beloved holiday classic.

Over the years, "Pretty Paper" has been covered by many other artists, including Glen Campbell, Kenny Chesney, and Randy Travis. The song has also been featured in several movies and TV shows, and it remains a favorite of Christmas music fans around the world.

The track can be found on the "More Of Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits" album from 1964.

  • Drop D Tuning: Yes
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down up down up and repeat
  • Picking: No
  • Chords: D, A7, G, D7, E7
Chords & Lyrics

 

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10. Pretty Woman

pretty woman roy orbison

Pretty Woman is a rock and roll classic that was written by Roy Orbison and Bill Dees in 1964. According to Orbison, the song's inspiration came from a real-life encounter he had while on tour in the UK.

As the story goes, Orbison saw a beautiful woman walking down the street in London, and he was struck by her elegance and grace. He imagined what it would be like to be with her, and the song's iconic opening line, "Pretty woman, walking down the street," was born.

Orbison and Dees worked on the song's melody and lyrics, which feature a catchy, uptempo rhythm and Orbison's soaring vocals. The song's memorable guitar riff was played by session musician Billy Sanford.

"Pretty Woman" was released as a single in 1964 and became a huge hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and remaining there for three weeks. It was also a hit around the world and has since become one of the most recognizable and beloved songs of the rock and roll era.

Over the years, "Pretty Woman" has been covered by many other artists, including Van Halen, Al Green, and Bruce Springsteen. It has also been featured in several movies and TV shows, most famously in the 1990 film "Pretty Woman," starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere.

Download the free Pretty Woman Roy Orbison lyrics below.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: down down down up down up and repeat and a bit of shuffle strumming
  • Picking: just the mail riff
  • Chords: E, A, Gbm, D, E, E7, Dm, G, C, Am
Chords & Lyrics

 

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11. Running Scared

running scared roy orbison

Running Scared is a song by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson. It was released in 1961 and became a big hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was also popular in the UK, reaching number nine on their chart.

The song sold over one million copies in the US alone. It's on Orbison's album called "Crying." The B-side of the single, "Love Hurts," also did well, especially in Australia. In Australia, both songs were considered hits, with both reaching number five.

Orbison's version of "Love Hurts" was the first one to become a hit, though later, the rock band Nazareth had success with their own version in 1975.

The original key is A but I play it in G so just capo the 2nd fret if required while playing the chords G, Am, Bm, D7 and C in standard tuning. There is no lead break but I added one, which is optional to play in your arrangement.

Chords & Lyrics Shortly

 

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12. She's A Mystery To Me

shes a mystery to me roy orbison

She's A Mystery To Me is a song written by Bono and The Edge of the rock band U2, and was recorded by Roy Orbison in 1989. The song was produced by Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra, and it appeared on Orbison's final album, "Mystery Girl."

The song features Orbison's trademark soaring vocals, and its atmospheric sound and poetic lyrics capture the mystery and allure of a woman who remains enigmatic and elusive. The song's memorable guitar riff and orchestral arrangement were also praised by critics and fans.

"She's a Mystery to Me" was released as a single in 1989 and became a hit in Europe, reaching the top 10 in several countries. It was also accompanied by a music video directed by David Fincher, which added to the song's appeal.

Orbison's recording of "She's a Mystery to Me" was well-received by fans and critics alike, and it is often cited as one of his finest performances. The song's success helped to cement Orbison's legacy as a masterful interpreter of emotionally powerful ballads.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: down down up down up down up down up down up and repeat
  • Picking: No
  • Chords: C, F, G
Chords & Lyrics

 

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13. You Got It

yougotit

You Got It is another song written by Bono, along with his U2 bandmates The Edge and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. It was recorded by Roy Orbison in 1988, and produced by Jeff Lynne of the Electric Light Orchestra.

"You Got It" is an upbeat and catchy pop-rock song that features Orbison's distinctive vocals, as well as a prominent guitar riff and horn section. The lyrics express the joy and excitement of falling in love, with lines like "Anything you want, you got it / Anything you need, you got it / Anything at all, you got it."

The song was a comeback hit for Orbison, who had experienced a decline in popularity in the 1980s. "You Got It" reached the top 10 in several countries, including the US and UK, and its success helped to reignite Orbison's career.

Sadly, Orbison passed away in December 1988, just a few months after the song's release. "You Got It" became one of his most enduring hits and a fitting tribute to his talent and legacy as one of rock and roll's greatest vocalists.

  • Drop D Tuning: Yes
  • Capo: No
  • Rhythm: root down up down up root up down up and repeat
  • Picking: No
  • Chords: G, F, C, D, Em, Bm, B7
Chords & Lyrics

 


14. You're My Baby

youre my baby roy orbison

You're My Baby was written by Johnny Cash and was recorded by Roy Orbison in 1956. The song was produced by Sam Phillips and was released on the Sun Records label.

The song features Orbison's trademark smooth and emotional vocals, and the simple, catchy melody perfectly captures the sense of adoration and love expressed in the lyrics. The song is relatively short, clocking in at just over two minutes, but it packs a powerful punch and showcases Orbison's talent as both a vocalist and performer.

While the song was not a big hit for Orbison at the time of its release, it has since become a fan favorite and is considered a classic of the early rock and roll era. The song has also been covered by several other artists over the years, including Cash himself, as well as The Everly Brothers and Billy Fury.

This song can be found on the "Roy Orbison At The Rock House" album.

  • Drop D Tuning: No
  • Capo: 1st fret
  • Rhythm: a steady shuffle with some rock n roll riffs
  • Picking: a little in the chords
  • Chords: A, E, D
Chords & Lyrics

 

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Thank you for visiting my best songs by Roy Orbison page and I hope you found some useful and helpful info here.


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