On this day in 1960, Roy Orbison recorded ‘Only the Lonely’. The song, which is actually titled ‘Only The Lonely (Know the Way I Feel)’, was subtitled to avoid confusion with a 1958 Frank Sinatra song, called ‘Only the Lonely’.
Written by Orbison and Joe Melson, the track would be Orbison’s first major hit and Melson’s greatest personal achievement. Melson wrote the lyrics and said the words to this song came naturally because, as a teenager, his lover had left him broken-hearted, and he remembered her ending things and then driving off in a Cadillac.
The song was originally intended for either Elvis Presley or The Everly Brothers. It would end up being The Everly Brothers who convinced Roy Orbison that he should sing it himself. The song was recorded in RCA Studio B with the famous session players known as “The Nashville A Team”.
The song was released in May 1960, and by July, it would hit No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard pop music charts, and No. 1 on the U.K. singles chart in October 1960.
‘Only the Lonely’ has received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, and is ranked at No. 232 on the Rolling Stone list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.