Book review: Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison by John Kruth

Backbeat Books

I have personally been looking for a good biography of Roy Orbison for a number of years and John Kruth’s “Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison” has certainly met my expectations.

With a sense that there is nothing that has been left out, certainly no punches have been pulled here, the books in depth discography and great pictures add to the well written story of a true music legend.

Described by his friend Elvis as “Quite Simply, the greatest singer in the world”, by fellow Traveling Wilbury Tom Petty as “No one could ever make a sound like that” or by country artist Dwight Yoakam as sounding like “the sound of an angel falling backward through an open window”, Roy Orbison still has a considerable fan base even now 25 years after his untimely death in 1988.

The Orbison story is one that is steeped in deep personal tragedy, massive success and a feeling of musical history- all of which shaped his sound and music and all are well documented here by Kruth.  With interviews conducted with the likes of Al Kooper, Bonnie Raitt and Bobby Goldsboro, all of whom worked with Orbison, the book has a good sense of insight into his life.

For fans of Orbison, or even those who just enjoy musical biographies, “Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison” is well recommended.

Review by Nikk Gunns


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