Roy Orbison: Love Hurts

Roy Orbison: Love Hurts


Johnny Cash wasn’t the only Man in Black, but Roy Orbison had dark glasses, too. “The Big O” had corrective lenses from an early age but hid a deep well of pain behind his signature shades. In his 60s heyday, the Texan rocker’s wife Claudette and two of his children died in successive tragedies, so he used music to distract him. Though many of hits are drenched in sadness (Only the Lonely, Crying, It’s Over – actually written before the tragedies), his impassioned, tremulous tenor soared – often to a massive, world-ending crescendo. And he found happiness again; in archive footage his second wife, German-born Barbara, says that despite his image, “If you ask anybody that was around Roy for more than ten minutes, they always remember the humour, and that laugh.”

The hits returned, too, when supergroup the Traveling Wilburys came calling in the 1980s, as did more solo success before his death of a heart attack at 52.

Surviving sons Wesley, Roy Jr and Alex speak movingly of their devoted dad in this portrait of redemption and resurgence. But for such an emotional documentary, there are hilariously surreal sights: Orbison and Roy Jr belting out Monty Python’s Philosophers Song may do it for you. But for me it was the clip from a 70s British TV show, in which Orbison delivers a withering put-down of northern comedian Colin “I’ve ’ad a word with the committee” Crompton.


Thirty years since the singer's death, another chance to see this documentary revealing his legacy as a beloved rock legend and a devoted father through intimate interviews with his three sons. Alex, Roy Jr and Wesley Orbison discuss the immense talent and fierce determination that provided the driving force behind their father's success and how his family life offered a strong spiritual base to escape the pressures of the rock ‘n' roll lifestyle.

Cast & Crew

Contributor Alex Orbison
Contributor Roy Orbison Jr
Contributor Wesley Orbison
Director Nigel Cole
Executive Producer Tracy Nurse
Executive Producer Lesley Douglas
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Documentary Music