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Digital Subscriptions > Vintage Rock > JanFeb 2019 > The Big orchestra

The Big orchestra

Buddy-plus-orchestra may be a first, but the new Roy Orbison album Unchained Melodies is a repeat teamup with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Vintage Rock looks at the ‘new’ Big O album and revisits some of the original recordings…

If a ‘with-orchestra’ collaboration was likely where Buddy Holly was headed, it was something that Roy Orbison already mastered in his own lifetime. So it was certainly no surprise when A Love So Beautiful – an album which saw archive recordings of Orbison overlaid with fresh orchestral arrangements courtesy of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – was released in 2017, becoming The Big O’s highest charting record for almost 30 years. And so a follow-up, Unchained Melodies, once again with the RPO, makes total sense. Whether it is “rock’n’roll” is another matter. But Orbison’s rockin’ years were brief anyway: with that voice and a taste for the lovelorn romantic ballad, The Big O and a big orchestra were always a match made in heaven and were a part of his sound from the early 60s onwards.

Roy Kelton Orbison, AKA ‘The Big O’ (1936–1988)
Evening Standard/Getty
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