Best Roy Orbison Songs
Entertainment & Playlists

15 Best Roy Orbison Songs of All Time (Greatest Hits)

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Written By Will Fenton
Entertainment & Playlists

15 Best Roy Orbison Songs of All Time (Greatest Hits)

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Prepare to be mesmerized by the incredible artistry of Roy Orbison, an esteemed American rock and roll singer-songwriter celebrated for his remarkable vocal prowess and emotionally captivating ballads.

Throughout his illustrious career, Orbison crafted an extensive repertoire of hits that have transcended generations, solidifying their status as timeless classics.

This carefully curated selection showcases the profound depth of his talent and highlights how his music continues to endure, etching itself as some of the greatest in the history of popular music.

In this article, we embark on a journey through the musical legacy of Roy Orbison, exploring 15 of his greatest songs.

Enjoy our picks of the best Roy Orbison songs!

1. “In Dreams”

Roy Orbison’s classic hit, “In Dreams”, is a testament to the power of his heartfelt melodies and powerful vocals.

From its fateful opening notes to its stirring conclusion, this song is an exploration of the emotional depths of love and heartbreak.

The songwriter’s earnest lyrics are underscored by a minimal arrangement of fiddle, bass, and guitar, creating a stark and haunting atmosphere.

Orbison’s vocals are both plaintive and hopeful, as he reflects on the past and looks forward to the future.

“In Dreams” is a timeless classic that has resonated with generations of listeners, and is truly one of Roy Orbison’s greatest hits.

2. “Mean Woman Blues”

Don’t pass up the opportunity to experience the infectious energy of “Mean Woman Blues”, an iconic track by Orbison that is sure to get you on your feet!

This song remains beloved to this day, with numerous contemporary covers, and it frequently graces soundtracks and movies.

It serves as a perfect illustration of Orbison’s skillful blend of country, blues, and rock-and-roll, resulting in a distinct and enduring masterpiece.

3. “Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)”

“Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)” is another classic Roy Orbison track that will have you singing along in no time!

A heartfelt ballad, the song’s lyrics are beautifully constructed in a way that captures the feelings of heartbreak, sadness, and longing.

The subtle instrumentation and Orbison’s unique vocal delivery add to the song’s wistful, dreamy atmosphere.

“Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)” is a perfect example of Orbison’s ability to craft a timeless song that captures the fragility of life and the emotions of the human experience.

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4. “Love Hurts”

Indulge in the heartfelt emotions of lost love with the iconic track “Love Hurts” by Roy Orbison.

This timeless classic has left a lasting impact, evidenced by the numerous covers by artists throughout the years.

Orbison’s masterful use of minor chords and recurring melodies sets a haunting tone that deeply connects with the listener, painting a poignant portrait of love lost.

For any enthusiast of Orbison’s music, “Love Hurts” is an essential listen, with its enduring lyrics and powerful emotional resonance solidifying its status as one of his greatest hits.

5. “She’s A Mystery To Me”

Lost in a world of mystery, Orbison’s “She’s A Mystery To Me” is a captivating journey into the unknown.

The song paints a vivid picture of a woman who is enigmatic and unknowable, creating a sense of mystery and intrigue.

The instrumentation of the track is light and ethereal, creating a dreamlike atmosphere that adds to the sense of mystery.

The lyrics are cleverly crafted, hinting at the complexity of the woman described in the song.

Orbison’s vocals are smooth and emotive, perfectly conveying the underlying emotion of the song.

All of these elements together make “She’s A Mystery To Me” one of the most enchanting and captivating songs in Orbison’s illustrious discography.

6. “California Blue”

Embark on an unforgettable journey with the mesmerizing sound and emotional depth of “California Blue” by Roy Orbison.

Orbison’s distinct baritone voice resonates with profound emotion and longing, while the infectious guitar riff adds an uplifting and familiar touch to the song.

Beneath its cheerful melody, “California Blue” delves into the yearning for a past love and the accompanying melancholy.

With its rich lyrical content, the song brims with imagery and nostalgia as Orbison paints a vivid portrait of his lost love and the cherished memories they once shared.

Orbison’s raw and captivating display of emotion is truly captivating, leaving a lasting impression as he skillfully conveys his longing through his powerful vocals.

7. “Running Scared”

Experience the captivating emotion and intensity of Roy Orbison’s “Running Scared” as it takes you on an unforgettable emotional journey.

Orbison’s powerful voice is truly mesmerizing, evoking a wide range of emotions, from fear and desperation to strength and determination.

The production of the song reflects Orbison’s timeless style, with a haunting guitar riff that gradually builds in intensity with each verse.

The lyrical content of “Running Scared” is equally impactful, as Orbison sings about confronting fear and doubts in life and ultimately triumphing over them.

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In its entirety, “Running Scared” stands as a remarkable testament to Roy Orbison’s artistic prowess, leaving a lasting impression that lingers long after the final notes fade away.

8. “Working For The Man”

Living life as a working stiff can be a real grind, but Roy Orbison’s “Working For The Man” gives you the push you need to keep going.

The song is a vivid portrayal of the daily struggle of working for a living, yet Orbison’s masterful vocal performance and the song’s driving beat to give it an energy and optimism that can inspire any hard-working listener.

The song’s lyrics are full of symbols and metaphors that demonstrate Orbison’s understanding of the complexities of the working life, and its message is one of resilience and determination in the face of difficult times.

The upbeat yet realistic tone of “Working For The Man” makes it a timeless classic from Roy Orbison’s catalog, and an anthem of hope for all who labor.

9. “Only The Lonely”

Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of life, Roy Orbison’s “Only The Lonely” offers a tender reflection on loneliness and longing.

With its melancholic melodies and Orbison’s signature crooning, this track captures the depth of what it means to be alone.

The lyrics are carefully crafted to evoke a sense of isolation and despair, yet they remain relatable to all listeners.

The combination of emotion and instrumental prowess make “Only The Lonely” a timeless classic that’ll continue to resonate with people for generations to come.

10. “The Crowd”

From his song “Only The Lonely”, Roy Orbison transitioned to the song “The Crowd”.

It speaks to the loneliness of being a star in the spotlight and the feeling of being a part of a crowd even when you feel like you are alone.

The song’s melancholic yet hopeful tone has made it a favorite among fans for decades.

“The Crowd” is a great example of how Orbison was able to capture the human experience in three and a half minutes.

11. “Claudette”

Experience the profound beauty of Roy Orbison’s “Claudette”, one of his most poignant love songs.

The track is a heartfelt tribute to lost love, expressed through Orbison’s mournful vocals that evoke a profound sense of sorrow.

With poignant lyrics, the song serves as a reminder of life’s fragility and the transformative power of love.

“Claudette” stands as a testament to Orbison’s remarkable talent and emotional depth, serving as a timeless tribute to his late wife.

Allow yourself to be moved by the touching sentiments of this unforgettable song, as it encapsulates the depth of Orbison’s musical artistry and the enduring power of love.

12. “I Drove All Night”

You won’t soon forget Roy Orbison’s powerful vocals in “I Drove All Night”, a song that captures the longing of a desperate love that’s just out of reach.

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The track is driven by Orbison’s passionate voice and a steady beat that keeps the listener engaged throughout the song.

The lyrics tell the story of an individual willing to go to any lengths to reach their love, no matter how far away they are.

The combination of Orbison’s deep and emotive voice with the song’s poignant lyrics makes it one of his most memorable songs.

13. “Blue Bayou”

Immerse yourself in Roy Orbison’s dreamy classic “Blue Bayou” and feel the peacefulness of his heartfelt lyrics.

The tranquil melody of this song is soothing and calming, a perfect backdrop for Orbison’s peaceful and reflective lyrics.

Orbison’s voice is deep and comforting, a perfect complement to the dreamy soundscape of the song.

The lyrics evoke feelings of nostalgia, of longing for simpler times, a sentiment that is perfectly encapsulated in the chorus.

“Blue Bayou” is a timeless classic and one of Orbison’s greatest hits that continues to capture the hearts of listeners everywhere.

14. “Falling”

Experience Roy Orbison’s stirring and emotional ballad “Falling” and be swept away by its heart-wrenching lyrics.

Orbison’s signature operatic tenor voice shines through in this track, as he croons about the pain of lost love.

The song builds in intensity as the lyrics become more desperate and Orbison’s voice rises.

The song’s arrangement is quite simple, with just a few layers of piano and strings, but it’s the emotion that drives the song.

“Falling” captures the raw emotion of loss and longing in a way that few other songs can.

It’s a reminder of why Orbison is considered one of the greatest vocalists of all time.

15. “Uptown”

Embark on a musical adventure with Roy Orbison as he transports you to the bustling cityscape through his timeless hit, “Uptown”.

The lyrics of the song brim with nostalgia as Orbison vividly portrays the distinctive joys and challenges of urban living.

With its infectious hooks and uplifting melody, “Uptown” remains an enduring classic that brings comfort and joy to listeners worldwide.

This song shines as one of Roy Orbison’s most cherished hits, leaving an indelible mark as a timeless gem in his illustrious career.

Best Roy Orbison Songs – Final Thoughts

Roy Orbison, an immortal icon, continues to be revered for his music, even in present times.

His distinctive style and sound remain etched in our memories, earning perpetual recognition and admiration.

These timeless classics have endured the trials of time, firmly establishing themselves as cornerstones of popular music.

Orbison’s music possesses a profound ability to evoke emotional responses, leaving a lasting imprint on listeners, while also inspiring fellow musicians and devoted fans.

With an enduring impact, his musical legacy remains intact, securing his place as an iconic figure in the annals of music history.

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Will Fenton

Introduced to good music at a young age through my father. The first record I remember being played was "Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley, I must've been six years old. By the time I was seven, I was taking drum lessons once a week. The challenge but the euphoric feeling of learning a new song was addicting, and I suppose as they say the rest was history. Favorite album of all time? Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones Best gig you've ever been to? Neil Young at Desert Trip in 2016 Media mentions: Evening Standard Daily Mail

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