Roy Orbison & Bill Dees 1964

Roy Orbison & Bill Dees

50 years ago today, August 1, 1964, Roy Orbison’s smash hit “OH, PRETTY WOMAN” was recorded!

Released as Monument Single #851, it was a massive hit, breaking all previous sales & radio play records worldwide. The song was initially controversial, viewed as too sexual for public radio. The opening guitar riff was thought to be lascivious, the drums too aggressive. Censors especially didn’t like the line “come with me baby” and Roy had to change it for the Ed Sullivan show and other television appearances like musicians (Rolling Stones, The Doors) would have to change their lyrics for TV in the future.

Still considered by many to be the top Rock and Roll song of all time, it directly influenced many great rock riffs like The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” and The Beatles’ “Daytripper,” both from 1965. It introduced the rock guitar riff used as a compositional element in song structure.

Here’s a photo of the song’s writers- Roy Orbison & Bill Dees- accepting an award for over 1 million sales in Canada!  Mercy!!!!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our celebration of all things “OH, PRETTY WOMAN!”


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