Roy Orbison Jr.
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Roy Orbison Jr. On Continuing His Father's Legacy With Music & A New Museum
GRAMMY-winning rockabilly icon Roy Orbison may have left this earth three decades ago, but his music and legacy is long from forgotten, in large part thanks to his sons. In a recent interview, Roy Orbison Jr., who was 18 when his father died of a heart attack at 52, discusses the challenges and joy in keeping his father's legacy alive.
Orbison Jr., along with his brothers Wesley and Alex, launched Roy's Boys record label to posthumously release music from their legendary father. They first teamed up with Sony Legacy to release Roy Orbison: The Ultimate Collection in 2016, followed by two albums featuring London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: A Love So Beautiful, released in 2017 and Unchained Melodies, released on Nov. 16, 2018.
Speaking to Music Week, Orbison Jr. explained how much work really went into reanimating his father's music on Unchained Melodies. The recordings includes a mix of Orbison's remastered vocals found from a variety of sources and supported by newly recorded musical compositions from the philharmonic orchestra.
"There was a lot of work behind the scenes," Orbison Jr. said. "On [my father] Roy's vocals, some of them are composite vocals, some of them are live vocals, and some of them are alternate takes. We had to hire detectives to try and find master tapes!
"Some of them are mono, some are multi-track, and some don't even exist on physical form anymore—they're digital…There were things we couldn't find, things we couldn't do for various reasons, but we got almost everything we wanted. It turns out, there is still enough for a third one," he continued.
He also shared that he has been working on a museum to honor his father—"a Herculean task"—since 2006, and revealed that the Orbison Museum will finally be opening its doors in Nashville, Tenn. on April 23.
The interview concluded with an astute comment from Orbison Jr. on the work involved with sharing his father's legacy with new generations: "The misunderstanding is that there is something that we have to do for Roy, when actually he's doing it for us."