TVD Radar: Rhapsody
in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison

in stores 3/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “Kruth pieces together the events that turned a talented West Texas kid with an astonishing vocal range into rockabilly’s premier balladeer, the man behind that saucy ‘Mercy’ in the massive hit ‘Oh, Pretty Woman,’ and a genuine rock star capable of headlining concerts with the Beatles as his supporting act.” The Washington Post

Elvis Presley considered this voice rock ’n’ roll’s finest; Bob Dylan claimed it could drive him off a cliff. Bruce Springsteen reckoned the man behind it “the coolest uncool loser you’d ever seen.” Incongruous among a cohort of musicians now remembered for their wild stage antics and pretty boy swagger, Roy Orbison was the unlikeliest pop icon to emerge from the 1950s. Until the 2013 release of John Kruth’s Rhapsody in Black: The Life and Music of Roy Orbison, the particulars of Orbison’s success remained as enigmatic as the man himself.

Rhapsody in Black searched beyond the melancholic songs and iconic Ray-Ban shades, illuminating the sonic alchemist who transformed pain and misery into transcendent melodies and platinum records. Now, to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of Orbison’s death, Backbeat Books proudly presents this essential biography in an updated paperback edition.

Rhapsody in Black tells Orbison’s story in prose as sonorous as its subject, searching beyond his aphotic mystique to explore the quirks and profundities of the vulnerable soul beneath. Kruth’s work is at turns triumphant and revealing, replete with behind-the-music details of Orbison’s collaborations, recording sessions, tours, and business affairs. While surveying key aspects of Orbison’s personal life, Kruth doesn’t shrink from or trivialize the psychic pain, sense of alienation, and myriad tragic events that shaped his youth and intimate relationships.

The resulting journey bares all sides of an all-too-short story, lavishing equal attention upon the conquering rock star who mesmerized countless crowds and the timid man more interested in building model airplanes, watching films, and reading books at home than self-promoting or partying hard.

Informed by interviews with more than twenty of his friends and collaborators, this paperback edition is enhanced by a new afterword evaluating Orbison’s legacy with three decades’ hindsight. Complete with photos spanning his career and a selected discography, Rhapsody in Black presents a balanced portrait of a man whose artful recordings, inscrutable aura, and otherworldly voice have left an indelible mark on popular music and culture at large.

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