Live Performance of the Week: “In Dreams” by Roy Orbison

After I first came across this song in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, it transfixed me. I must have listened to it 20 times the next day. Once you manage to look past the creepy opening line (no candy-colored clown is ever allowed in my bedroom), you get a hauntingly beautiful melody that lacks any chorus or repetition. Instead, it just keeps escalating to a powerful climax.

I never feel that Orbison gets as much respect as contemporaries Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, but this performance from his 1988 Black and White Night special affirms his status as one of pop music’s best singers and songwriters. Even more striking is that this concert aired less than a year before his sudden death, bringing his resurgence to an abrupt end. Still, few other artists can match his impressive catalogue of work, or his masterful composition of “In Dreams.” Thanks for this one, Roy.


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