ROY ORBISON’S “OH, PRETTY WOMAN” CHART LAUNCH BEGAN 50 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK BRITISH INVASION DISRUPTED BY MASSIVE SMASH ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC
Roy Orbison began making his mark on the music world in 1956 at Sun Records, which boasted a roster of unparalleled talent that also included Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. However, it was during his years on Monument Records in the early-to-mid ’60s when Orbison’s commercial success reached stratospheric levels, the apex of which was “Oh, Pretty Woman,” a song co-written by Orbison and Bill Dees. The blockbuster hit, first appeared at #101 on Billboard’s “Bubbling Under” chart in the issue dated August 22, 1964. It would go on to spend three weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, with sales of 7 million copies. It also topped the British charts for three weeks, an unprecedented achievement for any American to have this kind of chart-topping power simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic in the Beatles-dominated year of 1964.