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Rock - Released June 26, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Rock - Released November 3, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

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Rock - Released November 16, 2018 | Legacy Recordings

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Rock - Released June 26, 2015 | Columbia Nashville Legacy

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Pop - Released February 29, 2008 | Orbison Records - Legacy

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Blues/Country/Folk - Released April 25, 2011 | Monument - Orbison Records - Legacy

Overlooked at the time of its issue, as it was almost simultaneously released with Rhino's The Classic Roy Orbison (1965-1968), this offers a more comprehensive look at his post-Monument recordings. That doesn't mean that it's better. Most of the 1965-1968 cuts on this album are also on the Rhino one, though "She" and "Heartache," which are only on Singles Collection, are a couple of his better late-'60s songs. The post-1968 tracks that take up the rest of the anthology are a waste, an embarrassment at worst, as Orbison failed to either successfully incorporate contemporary influences or offer quality variations on his tested formula. Stick with the cheaper, more succinct, and easier to find The Classic Roy Orbison for an overview of this era. ~ Richie Unterberger
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Blues/Country/Folk - Released February 27, 2006 | Legacy - CBS - Sony

The best-recorded Roy Orbison live disc ever issued, taken from the soundtrack of the HBO concert from the 1980s with VIP guests like Bruce Springsteen and Elvis Costello. This was a sort of magical video, and the performances are splendid, along with the good feelings involved. On the other hand, the performances are extremely reverential to the established studio versions of the songs (all of the hits are here), and intended to mimic them, so this isn't quite the same as a live album as it would have been done back when. The pity is that neither Monument nor MGM ever taped any complete concerts by Orbison from the 1960s, and all that remains are TV appearances from Europe. ~ Bruce Eder
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Pop - Released February 24, 2017 | Legacy Recordings

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Country - Released June 26, 2015 | Legacy Recordings

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Blues/Country/Folk - Released March 28, 2006 | Monument - Orbison Records - Legacy

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Roy Orbison has been in such need of a comprehensive, career-spanning compilation like Legacy's 2006 double-disc The Essential Roy Orbison that it's especially frustrating that it falls short of the mark. Not counting Bear Family's exhaustive 2001 set, which gathered everything Roy recorded between 1955 and 1965, including alternate takes, it is the first multi-disc Orbison compilation since 1988's four-disc box The Legendary Roy Orbison, which was released in the midst of his remarkable comeback that peaked the following year with the posthumous comeback Mystery Girl, which arrived too late to be part of Legendary. So, Orbison's catalog truly was missing a set that spanned from "Ooby Dooby," his first hit for Sun in 1956, all the way to his last charting single, 1992's "I Drove All Night." Essential attempts to do that, touching on every phase of his career -- the early rockabilly for Sun in the '50s, his cinematic hits for Monument in the early '60s, the cult classics for MGM in the late '60s, his '80s comeback -- over the course of 40 tracks. It gets a lot right, particularly on the first disc, which has most of the big hits from "Ooby Dooby" to 1964's "Oh, Pretty Woman," all presented in chronological order. Where things start to go wrong is on the second disc, where the comp suddenly abandons all pretense at chronological order, opening up with four cuts from Mystery Girl (including the hits "You Got It" and "She's a Mystery to Me"), before doubling back to the '60s for five MGM singles -- "Ride Away," "Crawling Back," "Best Friend," "Communication Breakdown," and "Walk On" -- then proceeding to the '80s, first with the Emmylou Harris duet "That Lovin' You Feeling Again" from the Roadie soundtrack, and then with re-recordings of "Running Scared" and "In Dreams," two '60s masterworks that are only available here in these solid but inferior remakes. The jumbled chronology results in a bit of a disconcerting listen, since the production styles don't comfortably sit together, but that would be easier to forgive if "Running Scared" and "In Dreams" were present in their original versions; without them, Essential isn't quite the concise, comprehensive collection it aspires to be. It's a major flaw, but not necessarily a fatal one, since the remainder of the set does offer his biggest hits -- "Only the Lonely (Know How I Feel)," "Candy Man," "Crying," "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)," "Leah," "Blue Bayou," "It's Over," and "Pretty Paper" among them -- plus a good sampling of his lesser-known work, all in good fidelity. But it comes so close to being truly definitive that the few flaws in selection and sequence stand out all the more. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop/Rock - Released May 2, 2014 | Monument - Orbison Records - Legacy

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Pop - Released June 26, 2015 | Monument - Legacy

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Rock - Released October 23, 2015 | Roy Orbison P&D

Roy Orbison left Monument for MGM Records in 1965, not long after "Oh, Pretty Woman" gave him his second number one single in 1964. He did not see those heights again during his stint at MGM, but it wasn't for lack of trying. During those eight years, he released 12 full-length albums -- another, One of the Lonely Ones, was rejected in 1969 and wasn't unearthed until 2015 -- and a clutch of non-LP singles, all rounded up and released in this 13-disc box set, The MGM Years 1965-1973 (One of the Lonely Ones is not part of the box). Demon put this material out as a series of two-fers in the mid-2000s, but The MGM Years trumps those CDs by offering each album as a mini-LP in a cardboard sleeve, while adding a disc of B-Sides & Singles, plus a nice thick booklet filled with memorabilia and justifications for a rocky patch in Orbison's career. After a few modest hits -- "Ride Away" and "Breakin' Up Is Breakin' My Heart" made the Top 40 in 1965, "Twinkle Toes" just barely cracked that bar in 1966 -- Orbison dropped off the charts completely but continued to cut records designed with a crossover in mind. The only question was, crossover to what? On these 12 albums, Orbison usually keeps his focus on the middle of the road but he occasionally glances over to country, cutting full album tributes to Don Gibson and Hank Williams, records that wound up livelier than the soft, staid pop albums that constitute the bulk of his catalog. Often, Orbison seemed to be chasing trends that came to a conclusion two years before he headed into the studio. During the swinging year of 1966, he cut string-laden pop that feels targeted at supper clubs; he filmed a cheapo Western at the height of psychedelia; he grappled with Elvis' '68 comeback in 1970, and by the time his contract closed in 1973, it feels like he's just coming to terms with the rise of Glen Campbell. Certainly, this slight time warp couldn't have helped with his commercial fortunes, and time hasn't necessarily been kind to these LPs, either: often, they feel like ill-considered product, the work of talented individuals who couldn't quite make sense of rapidly shifting fashions. This makes the box interesting, of course -- failed commercial endeavors carry a fascination because of their flaws -- and there are a handful of albums that do work (Hank Williams the Roy Orbison Way, The Big O, Roy Orbison Sings Don Gibson, Cry Softly, Lonely One), but taken as a whole, this box feels like a series of compounding detours. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Pop - Released October 22, 2007 | Orbison Records - Legacy

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Rock - Released October 1, 1967 | Roy Orbison P&D

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Rock - Released January 1, 1977 | Legacy Recordings

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Rock - Released January 1, 1972 | Roy Orbison P&D

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Rock - Released January 1, 1970 | Roy Orbison P&D

Rock - Released March 30, 2018 | PDR

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International Pop - Released October 12, 2018 | ELYONS

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