Crying – Don Maclean

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………………….on June 22nd of 1980 Don Maclean’s cover of the Roy Orbison song “Crying” is the #1 song in the UK Singles Chart. Orbison claimed to have written this as the result of an encounter he had with an old flame with whom he was still in love. He refused to say how much she meant to him, and when he ran into her again it was too late. Orbison started writing this song for a country singer named Don Gibson; the working title was “Once Again.” Orbison’s songwriting partner, Joe Melson, then came up with the lyrics, “Once again I’m crying, once again I’m crying,” which became the basis for the song, so Orbison changed the title. Orbison claimed the stunning climax at the end of the song was not contrived, but just happened in the course of the song. At the time, rock artists didn’t typically write songs about crying over a girl. Orbison wanted to show that crying was not weakness, but sensitivity. Other voices would have a hard time pulling this off, but Orbison could emote very naturally when he sang, which he did on many of his hits. Orbison broke convention by following up a hit ballad with another ballad: his previous release was “Running Scared,” and while conventional wisdom was to never release two ballads back to back, it worked out just fine for Orbison as “Crying” was also a hit. In 1978 Don McLean recorded a cover version of this for his Chain Lightning album. It was originally released as a single in Europe successfully, and by 1980 it had become a #1 hit in the UK and #5 in the US.  Jay & the Americans also had a hit with the song, taking it to #25 in the US in 1966.