If you ask my husband, or myself—What is your song? The answer you are most likely to hear is “It’s Over” by Roy Orbison.
(The only other plausible answer would be “Let’s Get Busy” by Rocket From the Crypt, which was our first dance together on our wedding day.) But typically, when asked this question, the first thing that comes to mind is the Orbison song.
It’s over? For our song, as a couple? What kind of weirdos are we?
At the start of our marriage, we were broke as a joke. We were living on just one income to support both of us, plus our new baby. We didn’t want to put our son into childcare when he was just a few months old, and relatives didn’t live close enough to help out on a daily basis, so one of us needed to stay home. Money was very tight.
Still, we did our best, and one of the few indulgences we gave ourselves was a walk down the street to the local Goodwill, to poke through the stacks of two-dollar records. A lot of what they had to offer was crappy, but every now and then you’d find some real gems.
One day, flipping through a musty smelling stack of 12-inch LPs, we came across “More of Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits.” Yes, not just “Greatest Hits” but rather, “More Greatest Hits.”
We both enjoyed oldies and “Pretty Woman” is a great song, so we figured it wouldn’t be a bad purchase for two bucks.
I remember sitting at home with my hubby, in our small apartment with the brown carpet, and dropping the needle onto that LP for the first time.
Side one, track one.
First, we heard the pops and crackles of the record as it began to spin at 33.3 RPMs. Then the smooth drawl of Orbison’s voice, at a low pitch, pouring through the speakers— “Your baaaaby doesn’t love you… Any-more…”
Then the slow roll of the drums: Da-da-da-da-da, bom-bom-bom. Da-da-da-da-da, bom bom bom.
“Golden days before they end, whisper secrets to the wind… Your baby won’t be near you anymore…”
Orbison’s voice was hauntingly sorrowful, yet sweet. The song moved us. His voice captivated us.
The spinning record continued to lightly crackle as a whirl of strings subtly elevated the intensity of the sorrowful ballad.
The most intensity, however, comes from Roy’s voice as his words gain momentum, and his voice crescendos powerfully:
“It breaks your heart in two,
To know she’s been untrue.
But, oh, what will you do?
When she says to you: There’s someone new…
We’re throu-ooo-ough… We’re through.
It’s ooooooover. It’s over.”
Orbison’s voice belting out “It’s over” brought tears to my eyes. There were tears in my soul. His voice seized my heart and held it captive for the two minute and 50 second duration of the song.
A glance up to my husband’s face revealed that he felt the same way. We both sat around the record player, completely blown away by this unexpected gift that had found its way to us.
Other great songs on the two-dollar Goodwill gem include “Blue Bayou,” “Working for the Man,” and “In Dreams.” Just to name a few. It became our new favorite record, although nothing could surpass the overwhelming affection we both felt for side one, track one.
Although “It’s Over” is a song of pain and sadness, listening to it continues to bring us so much joy. That’s why we think of it as “our song.”
“More of Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits” continues to be one of our all-time favorite records. We never get tired of cueing it up on the ‘ol turntable and hearing the familiar pops and crackles permeate the house.
I turn it up loud. Slowly swaying from side to side, moving with the music and letting the voice of the late, great Roy Orbison seep into my soul.
Let me know if this song touches you, and pulls you in, the way it did to us.
(Though I must say, a digital, youtube version doesn’t fully do the song justice.) If you get a chance to listen to it on vinyl, do it!
And perhaps take a peek through the LPs available at your local thrift store. You never know what kind of joys can be found, for a measly 2bux.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise