Album: Crying (1961)
Charted: 25 2
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  • Orbison claimed to have written this as the result of an encounter he had with an old flame with whom he was still in love. He refused to say how much she meant to him, and when he ran into her again it was too late.
  • Orbison started writing this song for a country singer named Don Gibson; the working title was "Once Again." Orbison's songwriting partner, Joe Melson, then came up with the lyrics, "Once again I'm crying, once again I'm crying," which became the basis for the song, so Orbison changed the title. Orbison claimed the stunning climax at the end of the song was not contrived, but just happened in the course of the song. He told the NME in 1980: "Immediately I thought of a past experience and just retold that, was the way that came about. It was the retelling of a thing with a girlfriend that I had had. I couldn't tell you right now what notes I hit at the end of the song, or anything."
  • At the time, rock artists didn't typically write songs about crying over a girl. Orbison wanted to show that crying was not weakness, but sensitivity. Other voices would have a hard time pulling this off, but Orbison could emote very naturally when he sang, which he did on many of his hits.
  • In 1987, shortly after he signed with Virgin Records, Orbison recorded a duet of this song with kd lang which was released as a single and later used as the B-side to his 1989 release "She's A Mystery To Me." This duet won the 1988 Grammy award for Best Country Vocal Collaboration, and was re-released in the UK in 1992, where it hit #13. Lang said that when they met to do the recording, it was obvious that their voices had a "tonal connection."

    This recording was made for the 1987 Jon Cryer movie Hiding Out, and produced by Pete Anderson, who was Dwight Yoakam's producer. In our interview with Pete Anderson, he said: "The editor cut it for the movie, and he slowed it down for this scene where they were roller skating. So my daunting task was to recut 'Crying' as a duet with kd lang, Roy Orbison, and slow it down a little bit. It was great - it's Roy and kd, so you can't go wrong no matter what you do.

    I more-or-less witnessed it because they were so terrific. The biggest plus out of it was just getting to know Roy a little bit and spending a little time with Roy, who was a very, very special person."
  • Roy Orbison explained in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh how he came to write this song: "I was dating a girl and we broke up. I went to the barber shop to get a haircut and I looked across the street and there was this girl that I had split up with. I wanted to go over and say, 'Let's forget about what happened and carry on'. But I was stubborn. So I got in the car and drove down the street about two blocks and said to myself, 'Boy, you really made a mistake. You didn't play that right at all.' It certainly brought tears to my eyes and that's how I came up with 'Crying'."
  • In 1978 Don McLean recorded a cover version of this for his Chain Lightning album. It was originally released as a single in Europe successfully, and by 1980 it had become a #1 hit in the UK and #5 in the US. Jay & the Americans also had a hit with the song, taking it to #25 in the US in 1966.
  • Orbison broke convention by following up a hit ballad with another ballad: his previous release was "Running Scared," and while conventional wisdom was to never release two ballads back to back, it worked out just fine for Orbison as "Crying" was also a hit.

Comments: 24

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1987 {May 23rd}, Roy Orbison was the musical guest on the NBC-TV comedy program, 'Saturday Night Live', and he performed "Crying"...
    The following year on January 10th, 1988, in a duet with k.d. Lang, "Crying" peaked at #28 {for 2 non-consecutive weeks} on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    And later in 1988, on December 6th, sadly, the 'Big O' passed away at the young age of 52 {heart disease}...
    May he R.I.P.
  • Carolyn Bailey from Topeka This is my favorite
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1961 {October 9th} "Crying"* by Roy Orbison peaked at #2 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, for the week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Hit The Road Jack" by Ray Charles...
    The following month on November 4th, 1961, "Crying" peaked at #1 {for 3 weeks} on the Australian Kent Music Report chart...
    Between 1956 and 1989 the Vernon, Texas native had thirty-one records on the Top 100 chart, nine made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "Running Scared" for 1 week in 1961 and "Oh, Pretty Woman" for 3 weeks in 1964...
    One of his thirty-one charted records was a duet with Emmylou Harris, "That Lovin' You Feelin' Again", it peaked at #55 in 1980...
    Plus two of his charted records were as a member of the supergroup, The Traveling Wilburys...
    Sadly, Roy Kelton Orbison passed away at the young age of 52 on December 6th, 1988 {heart disease}...
    May he R.I.P.
    * "Crying" was Roy Orbison's second of two of his records to peak at #2, his other #2 record was "Only The Lonely", for one week in July of 1960...
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Billboard's Top 10 for October 9th, 1961:
    At #3. "Take Good Care of My Baby" by Bobby Vee
    #4. "Runaround Sue" by Dion
    #5. "Bristol Stomp" by the Dovells
    #6. "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby" by Bobby Darin
    #7. "The Mountain's High" by Dick and DeeDee
    #8. "Little Sister" by Elvis Presley
    #9. "Let's Get Together" by Hayley Mills
    #10. "Mexico" by Bob Moore and His Orchestra
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn May 30, 1981, Don McLean performed his covered version of Roy Orbison's "Crying"* on the Dick Clark ABC-TV network Saturday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    The song entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart on January 18th, 1981 at position #37; eight weeks later it would peak at #5 {for 3 weeks} and it spent 18 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on March 8th, 1981 it peaked at #2 {for 4 weeks} on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and for the 4 weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for those four weeks was "What Kind Of Fool" by Barbra Streisand & Barry Gibb...
    Between 1971 and 1981 he had nine records on the Hot Top 100 chart; two made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "American Pie" for 4 weeks on January 9th, 1972...
    Donald McLean III will celebrate his 72nd birthday this coming October 2nd {2017}...
    * On April 26th, 1981 his "Crying" was at #34, and one position lower at #35 was his covered version of the Skyliners' "Since I Don't Have You".
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 26th 1961, I would have loved to been 'a fly on the wall' at RCA Studio 'B' in Nashville, Tennessee...
    For on that day Elvis Presley recorded "(Marie's the Name} His Latest Flame" and "Little Sister" at that studio; and Roy Orbison, using five musicians who played on the Elvis session, recorded "Crying"...
    All three records made the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Top 100 chart; and for the week beginning on September 25th, 1961 all three were on the Top 10 at the same time, "Crying" was at #4, "Little Sister" at #6, and "His Latest Flame" right at #10.
  • John from Eugene, OrI will never forget the night K. D. Lang sang a cover of this song on an awards show on TV (Grammys?) She stole the show and made converts which later helped her sell a few copies of 'Constant Craving' (which is an incredible hit song in its own right). (Where's You Tube when you need it?!) It was after she performed this song on TV that the word got back to Roy and they recorded a duet. If you're a Rock fan then you Know that Roy's best song is: Pretty Woman; ' sorry, "Oh, Pretty Woman" for the true believers. By the way, does anybody kn ow how Roy got from Sun records over to Monument? I've never found out how that happened.
  • Rex from Lafayette, LaWithout a doubt, the best song ever. It's unclassifiable. Every song about longing and pain are pretenders. Roy's there anything that can really be said. The lyrics are honest, unsentimental, perfect, especially the second verse. If you're a songwriter and this is the first song you hear, you quit.
  • John from Wirral, United KingdomNo answer to that it is just a top class track Roy is the best met him in Southport Merseyside
    on his last tour i am a fan from the sixties genuine orby fans can reply John Wirral UK
  • Stormy from Kokomo, InThis song is also on a FANTASTIC DVD entitled "A Black and White Night" with Roy Orbison and several great entertainers. It was done totally in black and white and the set looks like a 40s style dance hall. It has most of his great hits including "Comedian" which is my favorite Orbison song! If you don't buy any other DVD, buy this one! I'm not sure if it's on video CD, but there is also a recording CD of the same DVD show.
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InOrbison's masterpiece, no doubt here.
    Elvis himself once said that Orbison was the finest rock vocalist alive.
  • Brian Vuinovic from Galt, CaI prefer Glen Campbell's version of this song. It appears on his "Gentle on My Mind" album.
  • Karen from Manalapan, NjI heard that Roy had asked a girlfriend to marry him. She said "no." He later went home and wrote this song.
  • Terry from Chicago, IlIt is one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, Belgium"Blue Bayou" and "Crying" are very similar for me. I like the both songs version Roy Orbison, Don MacLean's cover of "Crying" and Linda Ronstadt's cover of "Blue Bayou".
  • J from Toronto, CanadaThis is the first time I heard Blue Bayou compared with Crying. Crying is my favourite Orbisong and perhaps best defines his style. The del Rio version in Mulholland Drive was nothing short of incredible. The Jay Black version, well I believe that Jay has already apologized. Don McLean's version seemed as if it was from the heart. The k.d.lang duet with Roy almost eclipses the original.
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrOne heck of a song. Roy Orbison is great. One of the greatest male vocalists ever. Terrific song. Behind "Running Scared" as my favorite Orbison song ever.
  • Joey from Nowhere Land, CaCarrey underwood did this song last season on american idol..she was so horrible!
  • Jim from Arcata, CaA more chronologically correct statement would be that "Blue Bayou" is too similar to "Crying." "Crying" was released in 1961. "Blue Bayou" was released on the immortal and fantastic "In Dreams" album--in either late 1962 or, as I recall it, in 1963.

    I have heard others comment on this alleged similarity. I don't get it. "Crying" is not only my favorite Orbison song, but second to "Hey Jude" as my favorite song of all time. "Blue Bayou" is one of my LESS favorite of the 12 songs on the "In Dreams" album. I prefer all of the following tracks: "In Dreams," "My Lonely Wine" (barely), "Love Hurts," "Shahdaroba," "Dream" (barely), "Gigolette" (great song, inexplicably obscure), "Beautiful Dreamer" and "My Prayer."

    So, I rate "Crying" as the #2 best song of all time (among those I've heard), and "Blue Bayou" as the 9th best of the 12 songs on its original album. Obviously I'm missing something, because Teresa and Nessie are not the only ones to make the parallel between "Crying" and "Blue Bayou." All I will say is that for my money, if he ripped off "Crying" when he wrote "Blue Bayou," he didn't do a very good job of it and should have left the original alone. IMHO.

    Jim F., Arcata
  • Wes from Springfield, VaDitto on Andrew's comment about Rebekah del Rio. What an incredible version. In Spanish, a cappella. Del Rio has a very powerful, Judy Garlandish voice. I also like the fake tear on his face as she sings it in the movie. Wow.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, Belgium"Crying" and "Blue Bayou" are my favorites songs of Roy Orbison, his tender and sensible voice makes these songs so beautiful. "Crying" has been covered by Don MacLean (also very good) and Linda Rondstad made a very good cover of "Blue Bayou".
  • Nessie from Sapporo, JapanHis best song. A little too similar to Blue Bayou for my comfort, tho.
  • Steve from Gaithersburg, MdThe Jay Black version was by "Jay & The Americans", their cover of the song reached #25 on the charts in 1966. Jay Black's real name was David Blatt.
  • Andrew from Stoke On Trent, EnglandRebekah del Rio sings a fantastic "a cappella" Spanish version of "Crying" in the David Lynch film "Mulholland Drive", for which Barbara Orbison gave her blessing.It brings tears to your eyes.
  • Jessy from Bridgewater, NjAlso Jay Black Sang This Too.
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