Song: “Running Scared” by Roy Orbison
Reached #1: June 5, 1961 (his first, 1 week)
If I told you that Roy Orbison had two Billboard #1’s, you probably wouldn’t have named this one right away… it’s kind of fallen off the radar, actually.
Of course, you’d have named “Oh, Pretty Woman”, Orbison’s signature song.
Then… you might have guessed “Only The Lonely”. It peaked at #2. “Crying”? #2. “Dream Baby”? #4.
No, it was this unusually-structured song – no chorus, just a simple straightforward storyline – that was Orbison’s first #1. It seemed that Orbison was going to hit #1 regularly, but his style of music faded quickly in the USA after the British Invasion. Ironically, he was much-loved in Britain post-Invasion, continuing to hit their top 20 long after his singles stopped hitting the charts in the USA.
The good news was that thanks to Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty, America rediscovered Roy Orbison in the late ‘80s through the Traveling Wilburys. Sadly, the rediscovery was short, as Orbison passed away while “You Got It” was in production.
Tomorrow, a smash #1 duet that has turned out to be the biggest hit by either singer… and which was a struggle to complete as the two singers didn’t really get along.
No other songs reached #1 on June 5.