Songcraft: Conversations with Great Songwriters
About This Show
In-depth interviews with the creators of lyrics and music that stand the test of time. You probably know their names, and you definitely know their songs. We bring you their stories.
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Ep. 58 - JOE MELSON ("Only the Lonely")
3 days ago
Joe Melson co-wrote more than 200 songs with Roy Orbison, including over half of Roy’s sixteen Monument Records singles that appeared on the Billboard chart between 1960 and 1963. Their first major hit together was “Only the Lonely,” a style-defining performance featuring Orbison on lead vocals and Melson on the prominent counter melody. The pair followed up their success with a string of hits, including “Blue Angel,” “Running Scared,” and “Crying.” Legendary songwriter Boudleaux Bryant once wrote, “It would be an unpardonable oversight to overlook the contribution of Joe Melson to Roy’s meteoric rise to stardom.” In the 1960s Joe landed his own record deal with the Hickory label, while continuing to pen songs for other artists. His successes in that era include The Newbeats’ Top 10 pop single “Run, Baby Run (Back Into My Arms)” and Don Gibson’s Top 40 country hit “Ever Changing Mind.” In subsequent years the team of Melson and Orbison reunited, working together as both co-writers and producers. Linda Ronstadt covered their “Blue Bayou” in 1977, making it a Top 5 hit on both the country and pop charts. Credited with creating the template for the dramatic rock ballad, Melson has won multiple BMI awards. “Blue Bayou” was named one of BMI’s Top 100 Songs of the Century, “Only the Lonely” is among Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and “Crying” appears on both the BMI and Rolling Stone lists. Most recently, Melson joined forces with Australian Idol winner Damien Leith. The pair have released several singles since 2013 and continue to collaborate. Joe was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 2002.