"Roy Kelton Orbison" (April 23 1936 – December 6 1988), nicknamed "The Big O", was an influential American singer-songwriter and a pioneer of rock and roll, whose recording career spanned more than four decades. By the mid-1960s Orbison was internationally recognized for his ballads of lost love, rhythmically advanced melodies, four-octave vocal range, characteristic dark sunglasses, and sometimes distinctive usage of falsetto, typified in songs such as "Only The Lonely", "In Dreams", "Oh, Pretty Woman", "Crying" and "Running Scared". In 1987 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and posthumously in 1989 into the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Two common misconceptions about his appearance stubbornly continue to surface about Orbison: one, that he was an albino, and two, that he wore his trademark dark glasses because he was blind or nearly so. Neither is correct, although his poor vision required him to wear thick corrective lenses (He suffered from childhood from a combination of hyperopia, severe astigmatism, presbyopia, anisometropia, and strabismus). Orbison's trademark sunglasses were a fashion statement arising from an ...