Roy Orbison Gets His Hollywood Star

Play Unchained Melody -Roy Orbison

By: Roger Friedman //   Saturday January 30, 2010

The great Roy Orbison finally got his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame on Friday. It was about time!

Thanks to the persistence of his widow, the intrepid and beautiful Barbara, Orbison has lived on well after his death at age 52 in 1989.

The star was unveiled on Vine Street, right in front of the Capitol Records tower, and right next to Garth Brooks. Not bad.

With “Pretty Woman” playing in the background, Barbara and sons Alex and Roy Jr., and Roy’s son Wesley, received the proclamation from the city of Hollywood. Dan Aykroyd (who was there with gorgeous wife Donna Dixon) and T Bone Burnett each spoke about their love of Roy — who didn’t love Roy Orbison, that’s the question!

And Barbara Orbison, in accepting the citation, turned around from the mic and thanked the community of friends who’ve grown around her since Roy’s death: Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh and his wife Marjorie, Olivia Harrison, Barbara Bach Ringo Starr, Jim Keltner, Phil Everly, Chris Isaak, Jonathan Clyde from the Beatles’ Apple Records, and so on.

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Original 1949 BOB’S BIG BOY Holding Up Well in Burbank, CA

Ridin_The_Wind_UK_Version_– The Tornadoes 1962

During our last visit to the capitol of  Living 50s history, Bob was looking well – in fact he hadn’t aged a bit, holding fort in front of this great burger palace. The building, which appears all original, is looking good too.  Still appreciate mostly men in their 60s and 70s see to call this place home for morning berkfast, when we fell lby.

Burbank is a hot bead for living history, with the oldl movie studios nearby. Note the Johnny Carson Park and streets named after the greats like Bob Hope Blvd…   The  Safarii Inn where we stayed has a nice sign with surfboard(?) in front, though I am told the place has been remodeled since its heydeys…. Sure beats staying at the Marriot and a lot cheaper , too.

L.A. TIKI Palaces come in many styles – Bars, Restaurants and Apartments

Probably our favorite of the many Tiki Palaces in Southern California is Bahooka,  perhaps the only Tiki restaurant in the area. Originally built

in the late 60s its maintained a loyal following, according the current and only second owner.  The place looks like Trader Vics meets Robinson Crueso.  As one walks in a darkened room you only see the lights of hundreds of fish tanks lining the dining room wallssafdasdwalls.wall

walls.  Artifacts of you-name-it cover the ceiling and walls. One can spend hours there for sure. The food is very good, too, tiki fare of ribs and sweet potatoes is the specialty! The movie industy has discovered this place, too, now, so be aware of crowds. Not far down Rosemead Blvd, I think it is, you will find three sets of that are very much worth stopping by.  Another must-see would be the Tiki Ti bar in Hollywood. This small but authentic palace also has a loyal following so no guarantees you’ll get a seat.  Another Tiki aparmentsnifty fifties spot along the way was this old drive-in movie, er, sign. Only thing left is this incredible sign for the Starlight, one of the many  departed drive-in theaters in CA -and, who knows if even the sign is still there two years later.

Singer TONY MARTIN Still Amazes at 96

begin_the_beguine_tony_martin It’s sure good to see someone like Tony Martin still  singing – and singing well into his late 90s.  After all, probably the closest in age still on the circuit is Tony Bennett, and he’s a baby still in his mid-80s. Martin was raised right in my hometown of Oakland, and attended St Mary’s  College despite being Jewish. After  taking on a non-ethnic -sounding name, Tony Martin, Hollywood beckoned him. Martin became one of the top singers and actors of his day.  During the night we saw him at the Razz Room in San Francisco last year, Martin dropped many of those names of people he worked with  during the 40s and 50s and beyond, like Sinatra and Crosby, though his long-time conductor had to frequently help with the actual names.  But that’s ok, Martin sang well – and sang his familiar songs like ‘Begin the Beguine and ‘There’s No Tomorrow (same tune as Elvis Presley’s ‘It’s Now or Never,’ but recorded long before Presley, as he noted.  After Martin’s long-time movie-star wife Cyd Charisse (above right, with Martin in younger days) passed a few years ago, Martin called up his agent and said he needed to get busy and renewed his career, to the fortune of old and new fans, like us. If you want to hear the last of a breed of  powerful balladeers from the big band era, try to see Martin if you can, or at least listen to his music , like this one:

-TonyMartin-TheresNoTomorrow

Still Missing from the Rock Hall of Fame – Neil Sedaka, Connie Francis, etc.

Here is the front page of a music magazine published almost 20 year  ago, deriding the Rock Hall of Fame for overlooking key talents (clockwise, from top right GENE PITNEY, NEIL SEDAKA, DEL SHANNON, CONNIE FRANCIS, THE SHIRELLES and BRENDA LEE.  Since that time,  Pitney , Shannon, the Shirelles and Brenda Lee have finally been inducted, but , amazingly, Neil Sedaka – who had two separate careers, in the 60s and 70s – and Connie Francis , who is the second if not best -selling female singer of all time– are still left out of the Hall, along with many notable names like Neil Diamond,  Chubby Checker Paul Anka, Jan and Dean, Nary Wells, The Ventures, Lesllie Gore and most of the attached list (at left) and others you could probably think of…  It’s always been an issue as to ‘What is rock and roll? ‘, but if they’re  now letting in rap artists and heavy metal,blues and country artists its high time they considered the pop-meisters. Afterall,  pop was the rock and roll in the 50s and 60s as was much of country music.  Many no longer take the Hall seriously once learning that it is run by the head of ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine, a publication that has never really recognized any music prior to 1968, it’s inception, with rare exception.  Early RS publications , for example , idsmissed Roy Oribson as a lightweight who hid behind dark clothes and glasses – that is, until Orbison returned to fame in the 80s, playing with some of Rolling Stone’s faves like Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan.  Unlike some of the sports hall of fames, which put some actual ‘science’ to the test in selected members, the Hall is largely a popularity contest of music writers and publishers, largely of younger age.   Prior to being inducted into the hall, the late great Gene Pitney once suggested they not keep nominating him every year but give his slot to a younger artist more likely to get in.  Same for Del Shannon, who some say was very depressed after being overlooked many times.  Since then, the Hall has become a joke, except to those who may have been inducted or prefer newer music to older.