Only the Lonely

Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel ) is the title of a song and first million Sellers by Roy Orbison from the year 1960.


Neither the music producer Sam Phillips at Sun Records (until September 1958) Chet Atkins still at Monument Records (until April 1959) had managed to bring the vocal strengths of Roy Orbison marketable expressed. He sang unsuccessful in four record labels and changed just as often his musical companion. It was only when Bob Foster, owner of the record label Monument Records, the producer role took over itself, should change that.

Already in the third recording session under Foster's direction as a music producer on March 26, 1960 in the RCA Victor Studios Nashville is the right sound was found. In the occupation Grady Martin / Hank Bradley (guitar), Bob Moore ( bass), Floyd Cramer ( piano ), Boots Randolph (saxophone) and Buddy Harman (drums) was Only the Lonely. The occupation was part of the core of Nashville A- team. In addition there were a violin section and a background choir, the Anita Kerr Singers; Sound engineer was Bill Porter.

Only the Lonely was the first collaboration between Orbison (music) and Joe Melson ( text ) as a writing team. A clever rhyme within the track makes the listener curious. There was the title already as a composition by Sammy Cahn / Jimmy Van Heusen since 1958 ( first released on the same Frank Sinatra LP in September 1958), Orbison's version to distinguish with the subtitle (Know the Way I Feel ) was provided. Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers rejected the song, especially since it required more than two octaves in the singing in the last verse. Orbison fluctuated as a composer between beat music as later with Oh, Pretty Woman and ballads, which varied in content between separation and longing; he ultimately preferred the ballad form.

The song required a vote between B minor 3 to C 5, the latter in falsetto; which is slightly more than two octaves within a range of 17 notes. The song brings Orbison's tenor and his falsetto skills to full advantage. It was Melsons idea of ​​using the falsetto voice at the end of the eight-bar crescendo. The song led the actual baritone voice Orbison at the limits of his vocal abilities. The chorus responds in call and response style on the stories of Orbison with echo -like repetition of the opening phrase, the metric extension is dictated by the choir. The banal lyrics are about the painful loneliness of a lost love and the chance of a new romance.

A for the purpose of sound volume doubled guitar riff forms the core of the distinctive guitar work of Grady Martin. The intro begins with the drums, the bass drum beats every beat and the snare drum doubles this rhythm, while the closed hi -hat is struck at every upbeat. A clock later, the arpeggio -like guitar riff starts on an acoustic 12 string guitar. After two repetitions, the guitar melody is doubled by bass and lead guitar. Later, a significantly increased tremolo uses. Sound engineer Bill Porter turned in the small " RCA Studio B " to an unusual recording techniques. He turned the inputs of the microphones for instruments far and asked the studio musicians to play softly. Conversely, Orbison and choir sing as loud as possible in microphones with low recording levels. In addition, the recording technology Orbison's thin voice was provided with slap-back echo on the three-track tape recorder, which can be determined easily heard in the final chord without any background noise.

Publication and success

Only the Lonely (Know the Way I Feel ) / Here Comes That Song Again ( Monument Records 421) was published in April 1960 and sold nearly 3 million copies worldwide. On 31 July 1960, the single rank 2 of the U.S. pop charts, where it could not displace the standing on rank one hit I'm Sorry by Brenda Lee and therefore remained for only a week at the second rank attained. For this she was number -one hit in the UK. In the wake of the success Orbison made ​​his national television debut in American Bandstand on July 23, 1960. The hit also appeared on his first album Lonely and Blue ( December 1960 ). The ballad-like succession hits were built similar in their vocal demands and its dramaturgy, and thus secured the recognition. The song came in 1999 in the Grammy Hall of Fame. The music magazine Rolling Stone leads him since 2004 in the list of the 500 Greatest Songs of all time at rank 232 The song received a BMI Award.

Cover versions

Because of the complicated voting requirements, there are few cover versions. Of the at least 28 versions to mention the German version of Bobby Franco yet you are lonely ( German Text: R. Saviour, May 1961 ), Kitty Wells ( added on 27 January 1966), Glen Campbell (12 September 1966) Sonny James (21 November 1968), Jack Greene (6 January 1969). Howard Carpendale sang Lonely - Together a Fred Jay- text (LP ... and I'm waiting for a sign; 1975), the Stars on 45 considered it in their characteristic Medley ( May 1981). Larry Branson sang the song for the movie soundtrack Only the Lonely: The Roy Orbison Story ( August 1995 ), more traditional versions of Chris Isaak ( October 1996) and Showaddywaddy (May 2002).