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Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band w. John Fogerty - Pretty Woman - Madison Square Garden, NYC - 2009/10/29&30

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Pretty Woman on Wikipedia
"Oh, Pretty Woman"
Single by Roy Orbison
B-side"Yo te Amo María"
ReleasedAugust 1964
Format7" vinyl
LabelMonument 45-851
Writer(s)Roy Orbison, Bill Dees
Producer(s)Fred Foster
Roy Orbison singles chronology

"Oh, Pretty Woman" is a song recorded by Roy Orbison, written by Orbison and Bill Dees.[1] It was released as a single in August 1964 on Monument Records and spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 26, 1964 - the second single by Orbison to top the US charts.[2] It was also Orbison's third single to top the UK Singles Chart (for a total of three weeks).[3] The record ultimately sold seven million copies and marked the high point in Orbison's career.[4] Within months of its release, in October 1964, the single was certified gold by the RIAA.[5] At the year's end, Billboard ranked it the number four song of 1964.[6][better source needed]

The lyrics tell the story of a man who sees a pretty woman walking by. He yearns for her and wonders if, as beautiful as she is, she might be lonely like he is. At the last minute, she turns back and joins him. The title was inspired by Orbison's wife, Claudette, interrupting a conversation to announce she was going out. When Orbison asked if she had enough cash, his co-writer Bill Dees interjected, "A pretty woman never needs any money."[7] Orbison's recording of the song, which used four guitars,[citation needed] was produced by Fred Foster.[1]

Orbison posthumously won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for his live recording of "Pretty Woman" on his HBO television special Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night. In 1999, the song was honored with a Grammy Hall of Fame Award and was named one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #224 on their list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time." On May 14, 2008, The Library of Congress selected the song for preservation in the National Recording Registry.


  • 1 Recording
  • 2 Lawsuit against 2 Live Crew
  • 3 Chart positions
  • 4 Sales and certifications
  • 5 Cover versions and parodies
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links


The song was recorded at RCA Studio B by audio engineer Bill Porter.[8] There were four guitar players on the session: Roy Orbison, Billy Sanford, Jerry Kennedy, and Wayne Moss. Billy Sanford, who later played session for Elvis and Don Williams and many others, played the intro guitar. Williams introduced him as a kid who had just arrived Nashville, with a borrowed guitar, who heard Orbison was minus a guitar player, who went over and got the gig. Other musicians on the record included Floyd Cramer on piano, Bob Moore on an upright bass, Boots Randolph and Charlie McCoy on sax, and Buddy Harman and Paul Garrison on drums. Orbison played a 12-string Epiphone.

Lawsuit against 2 Live Crew

Further information: Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc.

In 1989, the controversial rap group 2 Live Crew recorded a parody of the Orbison song, using the alternate title "Pretty Woman" for their album As Clean As They Wanna Be. The 2 Live Crew sampled the distinctive bassline from the Orbison song, but the romantic lyrics were replaced by talk about a hairy woman and her bald-headed friend and their appeal to the singer, as well as denunciation of a "two-timing woman."

Orbison's publisher, Acuff-Rose Music sued 2 Live Crew on the basis that the fair use doctrine did not permit reuse of their copyrighted material for profit. The case, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc. went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court decided in 2 Live Crew's favor, greatly expanding the doctrine of fair use and extending its protections to parodies created for profit. It is considered a seminal fair use decision.[9]

Cover versions and parodies

The song has been covered by a number of artists:

  • In 1964, Johnny Rivers recorded the song on his live album In Action.
  • In 1965, a Finnish-language version by Eero ja Jussi & The Boys, on their album "Numero 1".
  • In 1965, Croatian language version by Duo Spevec.
  • In 1972 by Al Green on his album I'm Still in Love With You.
  • In 1972 by The Newbeats as the B-side to their single, "Remember Love".[29]
  • Victor Wood on his album In Despair under Vicor Records.
  • In 1976 Andy Kim released a version of the song as a single, but it did not chart.
  • In 1976 John Mellencamp also released a version of the song on the album Chestnut Street Incident, under the name Johnny Cougar
  • In 1978 by Connie Francis in English and German, both versions changed the title from Pretty Woman to Lovin' Man. Aside from the change of title, the English version kept Orbison's original lyrics. Country singer Arlene Harden also did the same, having a top 15 country hit in 1970 with "Lovin' Man."
  • In 1982 the song – titled "(Oh) Pretty Woman" – was covered by the group Van Halen on their album Diver Down, preceded by a guitar-driven intro titled "Intruder". The music video, which had the band dress as a samurai (played by bassist Michael Anthony), Tarzan (played by drummer Alex Van Halen), a cowboy (played by guitarist Eddie Van Halen), and Napoleon (played by frontman David Lee Roth), per a hunchbacked onlooker's request, rescuing a captive girl (actually a transvestite) was one of the first banned by MTV, due to its opening sequence, where the captive girl is tied up and fondled against her will by a pair of little people (the ban was eventually lifted, as MTV sister network VH1 Classic would later air the video).[30] This was their second Top 20 pop hit, peaking at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100.[31] Their version is playable in the video game Guitar Hero: Van Halen. Some lyrics and words were omitted, such as the line "Come with me baby, be mine tonight".
  • In 1986 in ska style by the Holy Sisters of the Gaga Dada.
  • Spoof heavy metal band Bad News covered the song c. 1987 (including it on the 2004 reissue of the Bad News album). As it quickly becomes obvious that the (fictional) band only know the opening lines (and repeat them over and over), the song descends into sarcasm, swearing, and general disorder.
  • Having performed the song in Deutschland sucht den Superstar, Daniel Küblböck recorded the song for his first album Positive Energie.
  • In 1983, Hong Kong singer Sam Hui covered this song in Cantonese using his comedic lyrics about a woman that looks great from behind until she turned her head and revealed her not so good looking face.
  • In 1990 Ricky Van Shelton covered the song on RVS III.
  • In 1990, Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song for the soundtrack to their TV documentary Rockin' Through the Decades.
  • In 1991, Nokie Edwards performed an instrumental version of the song live in Japan.
  • Ray Brown, Jr. released a jazz-style version of this song on the album Stand by Me
  • Rockapella has released several versions of the song and was a concert staple for well over a decade. This song has also been parodied the song twice on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? as musical clues for the gum shoe contestants.
  • In 1993, Sandra Kim covered the song with the title as Je ne suis qu'un femme for her album Les Sixties.
  • The Boogie Bass (one of the many variations of the popular Big Mouth Billy Bass) sang a parody of "Oh, Pretty Woman" titled "Pretty Fishy".
  • Green Day has covered the song live.
  • Westlife has covered the song live on their The Number Ones Tour.
  • Sharleen Spiteri has covered the song in her album The Movie Songbook
  • Bon Jovi covers this song live as a mix in with their own hits "Bad Medicine" or sometimes also "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead", with Bobby Bandiera helping on vocals since the Lost Highway Tour.
  • Kal Ho Naa Ho, a 2003 Indian romantic comedy-drama film, includes a cover on the popular soundtrack.[32]
  • On October 29, 2009 Bruce Springsteen and John Fogerty sang Oh, Pretty Woman live at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.
  • South African singer Ray Dylan recorded a cover on his album Goeie Ou Country Vol. 2.[33]
  • In November 2013 The Overtones covered the song for their album Saturday Night at the Movies
  • Peter Capaldi played the opening guitar riff in character as The Doctor in the 2015 Doctor Who episode "The Magician's Apprentice".


  1. ^ a b Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 85. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of #1 Hits, 5th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 157.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 186. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Lehman, Peter. Roy Orbison: Invention of an Alternative Rock Masculinity. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 2003, p. 2, 13
  5. ^ "American certifications – Roy Orbison – Pretty Woman". Recording Industry Association of America. 
  6. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1964
  7. ^ Amburn, Ellis. Dark Star: The Roy Orbison Story. New York: Carol Publishing, 1990, p. 127
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Jackson, Matt (March 1995). "Commerce versus art: The transformation of fair use". Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. 39 (2): 190–199. doi:10.1080/08838159509364298. 
  10. ^ Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book (1940–1969). Turramurra: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-44439-5. 
  11. ^ " – Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  12. ^ " – Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 76 (50): 19. December 12, 1964. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  14. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 2, No. 5, September 28 1964". RPM. Walt Grealis. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 76 (49): 15. December 5, 1964. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  16. ^ "Accès direct à ces Artistes: Roy Orbison" (select "Roy ORBISON" and then click "Go") (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 77 (1): 19. January 2, 1965. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  18. ^ " – Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  19. ^ "Search the Charts" (enter "Roy Orbison" into the "Search by Artist" box, then select "Search"). Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 1, 1965" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  21. ^ " – Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  22. ^ " – Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman". VG-lista. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Hits of the World". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 77 (8): 24. February 20, 1965. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  25. ^ "Archive Chart: 1964-10-10" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  26. ^ "Roy Orbison – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Roy Orbison. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
  27. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2, illustrated ed.). Barrie & Jenkins. ISBN 0-214-20480-4. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  28. ^ "American single certifications – Roy Orbison – Oh, Pretty Woman". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved August 21, 2014.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  29. ^ The Newbeats, "Remember Love" single release Retrieved April 25, 2015
  30. ^ Chad Childers. "Van Halen, 'Oh Pretty Woman' – Banned Music Videos". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2015-03-21. 
  31. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 656.
  32. ^ "Beat it with borrowed tunes". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  33. ^ Ray Dylan (2010-11-01). "Ray Dylan, Goeie Ou Country – Vol.2, CDs, Musica A World awaits – 6005298030511". Archived from the original on January 10, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 

External links

  • Lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics

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