The sons of Roy Orbison have collaborated on their late father’s official biography, with the intent of clearing up misunderstandings related to his life. Collectively known as Roy’s Boys, Roy Jr., Wesley and Alex Orbison, recently published The Authorized Roy Orbison via Center Street.

The book includes an account of how the Big O accidentally developed his sunglasses image while on a U.K. tour with the Beatles in 1963. “He had left his regular glasses on a plane, right before the tour," Roy Jr. told Rolling Stone. "He had the dark glasses with him and decided to keep wearing them. Dad wasn't able to see without glasses. When he got off the plane in England, people were taking pictures and that's what they saw, Dad with the dark glasses."

The book also contains memories contributed by Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young and Joe Walsh. “Dad was a recluse on the level of a Greta Garbo or a Howard Hughes, so there was not a lot written about him,” Roy Jr said. “I think he is one of the most misunderstood artists of all time, and there is so much misinformation about him. In completing his memoirs, the truth was very important to us. This book is a personal account of our dad and we tried to present it in an entertaining way.”

He added that his father had “shied away from musical labels because he didn’t want to be pigeonholed,” and argued that his influence on popular music could not be understated. “I think he was the most romantic artist of all time," Roy Jr said. "Dad wrote and sang about subject matter that is timeless, like heartbreak. Teenagers still go through that. We're at a time when a lot of music is fake – but Dad was real, and he is definitely our hero.”

Orbison died in 1988, aged 52 – and if he’d lived a little longer there might have been no need for the new biography. “He was in the midst of writing a book on his own life before he died,” Roy Jr. said. “My mom worked on it after Dad's death. It was kind of left to us to do it. The 'Orbison Vault,' as we call it, had a lot of the photographs and tour items. We collected a lot of photos from all over the world.”
 
 

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