Roy Orbison's sons have told Music Week that a new album featuring their legendary father's vocals backed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is the perfect way of honouring his legacy.
A Love So Beautiful: Roy Orbison with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is released today by Sony Music in partnership with Roy’s Boys LLC, the Nashville-based company founded by the late icon’s sons to administer their father’s catalogue.
Consisting of hits such as Oh, Pretty Woman, Crying and Only The Lonely, the album infuses Orbison’s best original vocal performances with the Royal Philharmonic.
"The tone and sound of the Royal Philharmonic really lends itself to my dad's voice," said Alex Orbison, Roy's youngest son and president of Roy's Boys. "My dad has that operatic rock'n'roll voice and the Royal Philharmonic have their own sound, and they really go together."
The LP was inspired by the success of the If I Can Dream (2015) and The Wonder Of You (2016) albums featuring Elvis Presley and the RPO, released via RCA and Sony Legacy Recordings, which sold 1,138,526 and 526,310 copies in the UK, according to the Official Charts Company.
"The overwhelming popularity of the Elvis records - If I Can Dream and The Wonder Of You with the Royal Philharmonic really opened our eyes to the possibility of doing this project and in a way it's fitting because Elvis had said that Roy Orbison was the finest singer in the world," added Alex. "Since they were friends and we have that history with them, it all really made sense."
UK country duo Ward Thomas feature on the final track, I Drove All Night, while Alex (drums) and Roy's other sons Wesley (guitar) and Roy Jr. (guitar) provided instrumental backing on selected tracks, along with 10-month-old grandson Roy III (guitar, tambourine).
The orchestral component was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Studio 2, in London, while Roy’s sons recorded their parts in Nashville at Black River Studios that was previously owned by their father.
"Roy Orbison III was 10 months old and we tuned the guitar to open E and put it through some Marshall stacks, put him beside it and he strums out the first chords that you hear on the RPO version of Oh, Pretty Woman," explained Roy II.
"You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is a greatest hits package, but this is actually completely new. We stripped away all the backing from these songs, the only thing that remains is Roy's vocal and we built them back from the ground up. In some cases, it's the original vocal, in other cases it's outtakes or live versions or re-records so we used every trick in the book we could to pull this off. What you're left with is the first new Roy Orbison album in decades and we're so proud of it."
Last month, it was announced that Roy Orbison will return to the stage in hologram form next year, backed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, in a first-of-its-kind UK tour.