♫ Pretty Woman ♫ (Redux)

I played this one back in 2020, but somehow when it crossed my path tonight, I wanted to hear it again.  Roy Orbison had a number of hits I liked, such as Crying and It’s Over, but this is still my favourite.  My second favourite is Only the Lonely, so be forewarned that you might hear that one here soon.

Roy Orbison was writing with his songwriting partner Bill Dees at his house when he told Dees to get started writing by playing anything that came to mind. Orbison’s wife Claudette came in and said she was going to go into town to buy something. Orbison asked if she needed any money, and Dees cracked, “Pretty woman never needs any money.” Inspired, Orbison started singing, “Pretty woman walking down the street.”

And thus was born this song, according to Dees …

“He sang it while I was banging my hand down on the table and by the time she returned we had the song. I love the song. From the moment that the rhythm started, I could hear the heels clicking on the pavement, click, click, the pretty woman walking down the street, in a yellow skirt and red shoes. We wrote Oh Pretty Woman on a Friday, the next Friday we recorded it, and the next Friday it was out. It was the fastest thing I ever saw. Actually, the yeah, yeah, yeah in Oh Pretty Woman probably came from The Beatles.”

roy-orbison-claudetteA bit of a sad backstory … Orbison and his wife Claudette had recently reconciled after some tough times, but as this song was climbing the charts, Roy found out she had been cheating on him and filed for divorce. In 1966, they remarried, but two months later Claudette was killed when the motorcycle she was riding was hit by a truck. Orbison faced tragedy again when his two oldest sons died in a fire at his home in 1968. He was on tour at the time.

This was Orbison’s last big hit. His career faded fast, but was revived in the ’80s when prominent musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and George Harrison cited him as an influence and invited him to join various projects. He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and joined The Traveling Wilburys with Dylan, Tom Petty, Harrison and Jeff Lynne. As he was enjoying this career revival, he died of a heart attack on December 6, 1988 at age 52.

Pretty Woman
Roy Orbison Jr.

Pretty woman, walking down the street
Pretty woman, the kind I like to meet
Pretty woman, I don’t believe you, you’re not the truth
No one could look as good as you, mercy

Pretty woman, won’t you pardon me?
Pretty woman, I couldn’t help but see
Pretty woman, you look lovely as can be
Are you lonely just like me?

Pretty woman, stop awhile
Pretty woman, talk awhile
Pretty woman, give your smile to me

Pretty woman, yeah, yeah, yeah
Pretty woman, look my way
Pretty woman, say you’ll stay with me

‘Cause I need you, I’ll treat you right
Come to me, baby, be mine tonight

Pretty woman, don’t walk on by
Pretty woman, don’t make me cry
Pretty woman, don’t walk away, hey, okay
If that’s the way it must be, okay

I guess I’ll go on home, it’s late
There’ll be tomorrow night, but wait
What do I see?
Is she walking back to me
Yeah, she’s walking back to me
Oh, oh, pretty woman

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Roy Orbison / Bill Dees
Pretty Woman lyrics © Sony/atv Acuff Rose Music, Barbara Orbison Music Company, Roy Orbison Music Company, Barbara Orbison Music Co., Roy Orbison Music Co., Kobalt Music Publishing Limited, Sony Atv Music Publishing France, Universal Muzik Taksim Ed. A. S., Sony Atv Acuff Rose Music, Evergreen Copyrights Obo Barbara Orbison Music, Evergreen Copyrights Obo Orbi-lee Music, Evergreen Copyright Obo R-key Darkus

28 thoughts on “♫ Pretty Woman ♫ (Redux)

  1. Just an aside, but I would like to play a lesser Orbison hit for you that I loved as a young teenager. It starts with a tragedy that becomes a greater tragedy. I could always hear the pain in his voice. Many of his songs were full of pain…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww … thanks, Michael, but I rely heavily on both Wikipedia and SongFacts, and occasionally other sources. I’m glad you learned something new and hope you enjoyed the music! xx


  2. “Oh, Pretty Woman” is a favorite. The Van Halen version is okay but the Orbison original rules. I am a big Traveling Wilburys fan. Like many, Orbison’s impassioned singing and ability to make you pause just to hear him sing the words often moved me. Another who passed too young. Hugs ‘n cheers, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am not a Van Halen fan, so I’ll just stick with Roy on this one. Yes, he died too soon, as have so many of the best ones, but he left us his legacy! It’s ours to treasure and pass along, but will the next generations find the same pleasure in his music as we do? Hugs and cheers, dear Michael!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: ♫ Pretty Woman ♫ (Redux) | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  4. A great song, my favourite of his too, though I Drove All Night runs it a close second – his version and Cyndi Lauper’s both peaked at #7 here. The two Wilburys albums are great, especially the first one, and that soaring voice of his was put to good effect.

    Liked by 1 person

          • Yes she is. She has written and co-written many of the songs on her albums. The only big one that comes quickly to mind is Time After Time, which she co-wrote with Rob Hyman, of The Hooters. He was a frequent collaborator on her albums, as were others in the band. Try Satellite first, if you don’t know them – brilliant video.


      • ‘There won’t be many comin’ home’: Back in the day, somewhere along the line- stories will differ, someone had an idea to put Orbison in a western; named ‘The Fastest Guitar Alive’


        It flopped. Orbison bless him thought he’d done a good job- audiences, critics etc thought otherwise.- aside from the songs.
        ‘There won’t be many coming home’ was set out as a single and should have been a anti-war classic there and then, but it appears it was not in the film, only on the LP of the soundtrack, which since the film was bombing was not selling or getting airplay.

        Since then it has gradually morphed into a low-key tribute song to the dead of wars. It was used in a recent Western ‘The Hateful Eight’ (a Tarantino film) and has gained more traction since.

        I bought the single when it came out- lost now. It’s a classic. You’ll find it on Youtube Jill, one hit including a run of promotional film with Orbison himself.


        Worth a listen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s