* REAL-LIFE TRAGEDY
In 1966, tragedy enteres Orbison's life when his wife Claudette was killed in a motorcycle accident, June 6,1966, at Gallatin intersection/highway 109 South and Cole's Ferry Road. The truck driver who killed Claudette was Kenneth Herald. He was charged with manslaughter but Roy did not prosecute, saying: "The guy will be suffering enough, knowing he killed somebody".
In the wave of public sympathy that followed her death, Roy's version of Don Gibson's "Too Soon To Know" reached Number 3 in the UK charts and gave him his last Top Ten entry of the 60's. Just over two years later he was dealt another devastating blow when two of his young sons were killed in a house fire while he was touring England. The effect of these tragedies on his career was profound, and he toured constantly to reliefe his sorrow.
On September 14,1968, Roy Duane & Tony passed away in a house fire in Old Hickory Lake, Hendersonville, TN. The boys were playing with fire, using a lighter. Suddenly, a corner of the bedding ignited and the flames quickly spread. They tried to put them out, but little hands just wouldn't do the job, and other Ro's son, Wesley, who was three years old, run upstairs to his grandfather Orb and said "They made a fire".
"I saw the fire", Johnny Cash, Roy's close friend and neighbour said, "and I ran and got my hose and started trying to spray it..."
Johnny & June Cash's home, nearby The Orbisons, Old Hickory Lake, Hendersonville, TN.
* ONLY THE LONELY - ROY ORBISON INTERVIEW
- It must have been hard to even think about making records after the fire?
* Yeah, that had a definite impact. I remember going on a worldwide tour after...after both things happened. Sort of as therapy, but also to keep doing what I had been doing. It you're trying to be true to yourself, and you would normally tour and write and function that way, if something traumatic happens to you, I've never seen the sense in dropping all that. Because it's not neccessarily a personal thing, you know? It happens directly to you, but it's not directed at you, neccessarily. In my case I went ahead and did what I normally did, insofar as I could, and then let love and time and things like that take care of everything. I guess I'm talking about faith, probably. And if you feel really singled out, I think you can make a lot of mistakes. I don't know of anyone who hasn't lost someone. This was something, I knew by faith - but until the faith is strong enough, it does affect your work. That's a process that took a while.
You have that feeling - why me, or why again - ,but what I was trying to convey is the faith that you have that this has a meaning and is to a purpose. It may be a mystery to you at the time, and is. But if the faith is there, you ask yourself - What is it all about? But not every day, every minute. I feel that that's what went on with me, you know? It was a long, long time ago, but I'm trying to reach back and really give you what went on as opposed to what I would like to have had happen.
Pieces of my songs would tell the story...
(Sources: Stephen Barnard, Ellis Amburn, Steve Pond)--------
"EXCERPTS 2" you can find here: