The MGM Years 1965-1973

The MGM Years 1965-1973

by Roy Orbison

Vinyl LP(Long Playing Record)

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Roy Orbison left Monument for MGM Records in 1965, not long after "Oh, Pretty Woman" gave him his second number one single in 1964. He did not see those heights again during his stint at MGM, but it wasn't for lack of trying. During those eight years, he released 12 full-length albums -- another, One of the Lonely Ones, was rejected in 1969 and wasn't unearthed until 2015 -- and a clutch of non-LP singles, all rounded up and released in this 13-disc box set, The MGM Years 1965-1973 (One of the Lonely Ones is not part of the box). Demon put this material out as a series of two-fers in the mid-2000s, but The MGM Years trumps those CDs by offering each album as a mini-LP in a cardboard sleeve, while adding a disc of B-Sides & Singles, plus a nice thick booklet filled with memorabilia and justifications for a rocky patch in Orbison's career. After a few modest hits -- "Ride Away" and "Breakin' Up Is Breakin' My Heart" made the Top 40 in 1965, "Twinkle Toes" just barely cracked that bar in 1966 -- Orbison dropped off the charts completely but continued to cut records designed with a crossover in mind. The only question was, crossover to what? On these 12 albums, Orbison usually keeps his focus on the middle of the road but he occasionally glances over to country, cutting full album tributes to Don Gibson and Hank Williams, records that wound up livelier than the soft, staid pop albums that constitute the bulk of his catalog. Often, Orbison seemed to be chasing trends that came to a conclusion two years before he headed into the studio. During the swinging year of 1966, he cut string-laden pop that feels targeted at supper clubs; he filmed a cheapo Western at the height of psychedelia; he grappled with Elvis' '68 comeback in 1970, and by the time his contract closed in 1973, it feels like he's just coming to terms with the rise of Glen Campbell. Certainly, this slight time warp couldn't have helped with his commercial fortunes, and time hasn't necessarily been kind to these LPs, either: often, they feel like ill-considered product, the work of talented individuals who couldn't quite make sense of rapidly shifting fashions. This makes the box interesting, of course -- failed commercial endeavors carry a fascination because of their flaws -- and there are a handful of albums that do work (Hank Williams the Roy Orbison Way, The Big O, Roy Orbison Sings Don Gibson, Cry Softly, Lonely One), but taken as a whole, this box feels like a series of compounding detours. [The MGM Years 1965-1973 was also released in a 14-LP set.]

Product Details

Release Date: 12/04/2015
Label: Ume
UPC: 0602547213549
catalogNumber: 002355601
Rank: 147893

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