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Orbison?s pretty woman

Legendary rocker Roy Orbison?s wife Barbara was in Mumbai recently to promote his music.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2006 19:44 IST
Soumik Sen

Barbara Orbison, the wife and former manager/producer of rock legend Roy Orbison, doesn’t want to be a full-time producer because she believes that these days the responsibility of handling artists is so huge that it can tie up a free mind. Barbara accompanied spiritual guru Deepak Chopra to Sri Lanka, attended music concerts in Chennai, got a friend of hers to shave his head at Tirupathi before coming to Mumbai to try and promote Roy’s songs in Bollywood as well as get Indian support for a Roy Orbison stamp in America. HT Style chatted with her. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Indianised Pretty Woman in Kal Ho Na Ho.

Would you rate Karan Johar’s use of the melody better than in Pretty Woman?

I wouldn’t say that. They both have their individual charms, although I must add that while the Julia Roberts presence universalised the best girl-watching song ever (in my opinion), Karan and Shah Rukh Khan brought in the entire family within the realm of the song and probably made it accessible to women across age groups. And you think more of Roy’s songs can find a context in Bollywood?

Why just Bollywood?

I think advertisements, too, can use his catalogue and I’d personally love to see a fusion of sorts between his voice and an Indian singer. In fact, Roy often used to say that “there are times when the musician Roy gets very mad with the singer Roy”, because once he sang a song, nobody else would cover it, and he thought many singers could actually better his version. Apart from travelling and propagating Roy’s work, you were also a Grammy nominee this year...

Oh yeah. Under my record label, The Still Working Music Group, I did produce country duo Brooks and Dunn whose song Play Something Country was nominated for Best Country Song of the year. I am producing singer-songwriter Danielle Peck and am waiting for my son’s debut album to come out. Speaking of family and legacy, tell us how the Travelling Wilbury’s was formed. With a lineup of Dylan, Harrison, Petty and Orbison, one often wonders how the band came into being.

It started with Jeff Lynn, who produced Roy’s You Got it and George’s Cloud 9 album. And at Roy’s recording Tom Petty used to just drop by. Now, on one such day when George wanted to record with Jeff and Roy, the studio wasn’t booked. So George suggested they record at Dylan’s house in Malibu. Unfortunately, George didn’t have his guitar and had to borrow Tom Petty’s, which resulted in four of them travelling down to record a side B for George’s album, but in one day they sat together and recorded the song Handle with care and that’s how, at Bob Dylan’s Malibu home studio, the Travelling Wilbury’s was born.

Why did Roy choose the nickname Lefty Wilbury for himself ?

It was after country songwriting legend Lefty Frizzell that he chose his name. Any chances of a third Travelling Wilbury’s album — from bootleg recordings, perhaps?

No. I don’t think so, but Olivia Harrison is coming out with a Travelling Wilbury’s DVD, which will have home movies and behind-the-scenes recordings while the band was recording. All of us who have material are supporting her.