Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Big O in Caerphilly

In 1975 Roy Orbison's career was in the doldrums. The legendary singer who'd enjoyed worldwide hits with songs like Only the Lonely, Blue Angel and Crying was doing a week of shows at the infamous Double Diamond Club in Caerphilly (think Phoenix Nights with a Valleys accent). It was the Welsh leg of an exhausting tour that consisted of 55 performances in 56 days.

The Big O's week-long stint at the DD was sandwiched between The Grumbleweeds and a vocalist called Bryn Phillips. Orbison's stock had fallen so low the local press didn't bother interviewing him or reviewing any of his shows.

In 1986 Orbison's career would be re-ignited by David Lynch's cult film Blue Velvet which featured his song In Dreams. He went on to have further hit records before joining the egregious Travelling Wilburys... but we won't talk about that. He died in 1988.

So with his legendary status once more fully restored the Caerphilly gigs have acquired cult significance. And the general dearth of information about them has only fuelled their mystique. Where did he stay? A hotel in Cardiff or a bed and breakfast in Caerphilly? Did he sing the same songs every night? Could he get his Texan tongue around the word "Caerphilly"? We need to know these things. If you were there do please enlighten me.