/> DO WE WRITE OUR OWN SCRIPT? A Legends Self-fulfilling Prophecies of Doom | Ear To The Track

DO WE WRITE OUR OWN SCRIPT? A Legends Self-fulfilling Prophecies of Doom

I can't see a thing

I can’t see a thing

Not long ago, I read ‘Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives’, a collection of teachings from a deceased, Serbian Orthodox monk called Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica.  One of the philosophical concepts Elder Thaddeus put forward was his belief that the very way we think about ourselves, the people we know and the circumstances we face generally directs the outcomes of these relationships and situations. Elder Thaddeus communicated that “Our (lives) depend on the kinds of thoughts we nurture.  If our thoughts are peaceful, calm, meek, and kind, then that is what our life is like”.  If I correctly understand his concept, negative thinking is, somehow, picked up by others even when we try our best to suppress it and, thus, sabotages any opportunity for a good result so, from his point of view, positive mental attitudes are an essential part of healthy and successful living. This brings me to my subject…

While Roy Orbison was never considered a heartthrob, he was an incredibly gifted vocalist, musician and songwriter. confident about his talents and determined in his ambitions, Orbison finished school and left the nowhere-town of Wink, Texas to pursue a career in music and, against long odds, achieved relatively quick success with a top-50 single called ‘Ooby Dooby’ on sun records in 1956, Orbison was 19. Over the next few years, subsequent Roy Orbison releases fared less well than ‘Ooby Dooby’ and the singer became extremely frustrated with his status in the entertainment business.  By 1960, sun records was no longer interested in backing him and Orbison became desperate to find another outlet for stardom.

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Roy’s thinking, “These guys will never last”.

Looking for a new approach, Roy Orbison teamed with songwriter and fellow Texan Joe Melson and the duo created a string of powerful, weepy and, arguably, pathetic love ballads that ideally suited Orbison’s operatic voice and marching band clarinet player looks.  Perfectly crafted tunes like ‘Only the lonely’, ‘Cryin’, ‘Running Scared’, ‘It’s Over’ and ‘In Dreams’ cast Orbison as a lovelorn and weary troubadour who could never get a break from Cupid despite his unyielding devotion to a one-and-only love.  His on-stage persona was that of an anti-hero sad-sack who won over audiences with his thick glasses, black clothes, pudgy chin and ‘Aw shucks’ grin that drew fan’s adoration and sympathy.  The listening public couldn’t help but feel sorry for this constantly jilted underdog and even when he did manage to get the girl in his classic ‘Pretty Woman’, it was an unexpected and slightly melancholy victory where a listener might have imagined that ole Roy still got ditched by the end of the night.

claudette

Believe it or not, Claudette married Roy Orison BEFORE he was famous!

In any event, none of this was reality.  Believe it or not, Roy Orbison did well in love, even before he was world-famous.  In the late 50’s, Orbison married, to the surprise of everyone in Wink, the small town’s most desirable bombshell Claudette Frady after whom he named a song that eventually became a hit for The Everly Brothers.  ‘Claudette’-related royalties made the Orbisons some good coin and kept Roy in the music business until the heart-stricken-loser image was cultivated for mass consumption.  From 1960 onward, Roy Orbison was a famous, wealthy and, from what I’ve read, typically narcissistic celebrity with a gorgeous wife who, reportedly, worshiped him.  Orbison toured constantly and experienced life on his own terms but despite his enviable position, he continued to sell the tragic character to worldwide audiences.  Unfortunately, real tragedy was about to creep into his life.

In 1964, Claudette, who found herself perpetually sitting around at home while Roy worked the road, had a romantic tryst with one of Roy’s friends, the affair led to a divorce.  Two years later, the couple joyfully reconciled but not long after, Claudette was killed in a grizzly motorcycle crash, she was only 25.  A grief-stricken Roy took some solace in the couple’s three young boys and tried to refocus his efforts on shrinking sales figures but while travelling to promote a new single in England, he was informed that his Tennessee family home had burned to the ground and the fire killed two of his sons.  By this point, I can only imagine that wispy teenage melodrama would have been welcomed in the face of true disaster.

traveling-wilburys

Petty was like, “I’m not wearing black”

During the late 1970’s, the faded star, then in his forties, required a triple-bypass for severely clogged arteries while he, at the same time, suffered from Duodenal ulcers which caused constant abdominal pain.  On the bright side, Orbison had remarried and by the 1980’s, his classic hits from earlier days began to garner appreciation from a younger generation and his renewed status provided exciting opportunities.  With strident support from established music stars like Bruce Springsteen, KD Lang, Tom Petty and Elvis Costello, the revamped Roy Orbison recorded a well-funded comeback album called ‘Mystery Girl’ which generated considerable industry buzz.  The same year, Orbison was invited to join the ‘Traveling Wilburys’, a haggard and half-serious super-group featuring Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and the always downbeat George Harrison. The Wilbury’s first single ‘Handle with Care’ featured a bridge section where Roy shined while delivering an appropriately Orbison-esque, ‘Woe-is-me’, solo lyric, “I’m so tired of being lonely, I’ve still got some love to give”.

With Orbison’s stock on the rise and a planned world tour being routed, it only goes to reason that he dropped dead of a heart attack before the whole thing could really take off.  A few months after Orbison’s funeral, ‘You Got It’, the first single from his ‘Dream Girl’ album, was released and reached number 9 on the US charts, Roy’s first hit in over 20 years.  Ironically, the most harrowing event he ever experienced (early death) fit right in with his tried and true sales pitch of pity.  Now, am I inferring that Roy Orbison cursed himself with insincere or negative thinking?  Is an artist who cultivates a false image being dishonest or are they simply entertaining folks?

2pac

2pac wondering “How long will they mourn me?” just before we all found out the answer

One might ask similar questions with regard to stars like Notorious B.I.G. who called his albums ‘Ready to Die’ and ‘Life After Death’ before getting killed or Amy Winehouse who sang about not going to rehab and then succumbed to a drug overdose.  Michael Jackson‘s seeming obsession with characters from children’s stories and sideshow oddities appeared to have helped turn him into both of those things simultaneously while Curt Cobain‘s “Whatever, never-mind” act ended up in suicide. did Bob Marley‘s prophet complex and Rasta paranoia contribute to an early death which occurred, in part, due to Marley’s misplaced faith in his own healing abilities and a general lack of trust when it came to doctors?  To further pound in the point, how many times have we watched a friendly, lightweight Pop act introduce a new, dangerous or sexually explicit showbiz presentation only to wind up becoming a misguided version of the very character they attempted to develop?  Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Just Bieber…

elder thaddeus

Elder Thaddeus

Could it be that Elder Thaddeus was onto something?  Maybe the images and subconscious thoughts circulating in our brain supersede our would-be intentions no matter how cautiously we try to harness and control our own mental energy.  It makes sense that the human brain will produce actions that grow out of the very food we feed it.  I should know, I’m a member of a group that calls itself ‘Ugly Duckling’ and celebrates not being overly popular or well-paid…talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies

Posted on by andycooper in ANDY'S ANGLE, CLASSIC POP

2 Responses to DO WE WRITE OUR OWN SCRIPT? A Legends Self-fulfilling Prophecies of Doom

  1. willp

    “I’m a member of a group that calls itself ‘Ugly Duckling’ and celebrates not being overly popular or well-paid…talk about your self-fulfilling prophecies”

    This cracked me up, great read

    • andycooper

      thanks, i was just thinking about how eminem did all those songs about being a crazy drug addict and, eventually, he seems to have become just that. to be fair, elvis did a bunch of songs about dedicated love and he died on a toilet because his bowels were so weak from his addiction to laxatives that his heart gave out.

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