“Running Scared” was Roy Orbison’s first number one song, after hitting the Top 40 three times in 1960. He would be back for another number with “Pretty Woman” in 1964.
Listening to the song might remind you of listening to Ravel’s “Bolaro”. The song starts out soft and builds as it progresses, just like “Bolaro”. The song is about a guy who has a girl who just may be in love with her former boyfriend. What if he comes back? Will she pick him or stay with you? If you haven’t heard the song or don’t remember who she choose, go back and listen to the song again. It’s one of the best songs in rock and roll history.
The note at the end of the song is a high G sharp and is rarely hit in popular music by a singer. It took several takes before Roy nailed it. The orchestra that was accompanying him was so surprised, they stopped playing. No one had heard anyone do that before. I can’t help but wonder how he did it in concert, since he was required to sing the song at every concert he performed in from then on, the rest of his life. Maybe that’s what separates the truly talented from the rest of us.
“Running Scared” was written by Roy and Joe Melson who had teamed up with Roy in 1957 and the two of them wrote many of Roy’s hits over the years. Roy Orbison is his real name, born in 1936 in Vernon, Texas. His father gave him a guitar for his sixth birthday and it was from that early age that he knew he wanted to play music for his livelihood. Contrary to what some people believe, Roy Orbison is not blind. He had poor eyesight since he was young. It ran in the family as all of his siblings have the same problem. He doesn’t wear sunglasses because he’s blind or trying to make a fashion statement. He wears them because the lights of the stage hurt his eyes.
Roy Orbison joined the supergroup “The Traveling Wilbury’s” in 1988, which was also made up of Tom Petty, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne. He died on December 6, 1988 of a heart attack. He was only 52, His concerts are still played on PBS to this day, recognized as one of the greatest of early rock-and-roll.
“Running Scared” entered the pop chart on April 24, 1961 and spent one week at number one.