Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988) was an American singer, songwriter and musician known for his impassioned singing style, complex song structures, and dark emotional ballads. Born in Texas, Orbison began singing in a rockabillyand country-and-western band in high school. He was signed by Sam Phillips, of Sun Records, in 1956, but his greatest success came with Monument Records. From 1960 to 1966, twenty-two of his singles reached the Billboard Top 40, and he wrote or co-wrote almost all that rose to the Top 10, including "Only the Lonely" (1960), "Running Scared" (1961), "Crying" (1961), "In Dreams" (1963), and "Oh, Pretty Woman" (1964).
In the 1980s, he experienced a resurgence in popularity through the success of several cover versions of his songs, and in 1988, co-founded the Traveling Wilburys, a rock supergroup with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. His honors include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in the same year, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989. Rolling Stone placed him at number 37 on their list of the "Greatest Artists of All Time" and number 13 on their list of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time'. In 2002, Billboard magazine listed Orbison at number 74 in the Top 600 recording artists.