Monday, 13 October 2014

Roy Orbison 'You Got It'

Chart Peak: 3
'You Got It' was one the last songs recorded before his untimely death, at the age of 52, in late 1988... It made No. 3 in January 1989, his 27th UK Top 40 hit.
Tenuous links continue onto Side 2, as this song was co-written by Orbison's fellow Traveling Wilburys Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty, whilst Sam Brown worked several times with George Harrison, who was of course a close friend of her father. Harrison and Orbison had worked together before, of course, as the Beatles toured with him in 1963. In fact they were scheduled to play here in Harrow, but the date was cancelled and they never made it here. Not that it would have mattered to me if they had played, years before my parents knew each other in a place neither of them had yet been to.

In fact, whilst I remember this single being released posthumously, I was only vaguely aware of Roy Orbison while he was alive. I thought of him as impossibly ancient by then, although 52 doesn't sound such a grand old age now I'm more than two-thirds of the way there myself. Paul Weller and Madonna are both older than that now, for example. Of course his passing seemed especially tragic since his career seemed to have undergone something of a revival, with this single already pressed and comeback album Mystery Girl due for release in the new year - he'd even got as far as miming this single on Belgian TV (hence the music video) just a few days before his death. Perhaps because he'd just re-recorded a whole batch of his classic songs for contractual reasons, and done a relatively good job of reproducing the originals, there's a strong sense of pastiche about 'You Got It'. At least, it's Jeff Lynne's idea of an early-60s pop song, but it wouldn't fool anyone for a moment thanks to his production; it was obviously done to a click-track one instrument at a time, slick at the expense of the energy of an authentic original - this is particularly obvious in the wordless middle section. However, assessed on its own merits this is a fine pop song, though a tiny bit too long; there's a section near the end that sounds like it was edited in and that could have been left out. Still, you can't really expect Jeff Lynne to understand less-is-more. If I had Now 14 on CD instead of vinyl I'd have ripped this track and put in on my MP3 player by now. I have got the follow-up 'She's A Mystery To Me' on there already.

Also appearing on: Now 23 [with kd lang]
Available on: Mystery Girl Deluxe

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