Roy Orbison - Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)

Roy Orbison

Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)

Monument Records

Release Date: June 20th, 1962

Words by: Jason A. Wendleton
June 9th, 1962

Sometimes the most stunning display of strength is in a delicate touch. Roy Orbison's voice was a mighty tool, but it wasn't this natural gift that made him such a spectacular singer—it was his ability to measure and reign-in his own power.

'Dream baby (how long must I dream)' is a gentle ode to an absent lover, and it's also perhaps the greatest example of Orbison's vocal mastery. Written by legendary songwriter Cindy Walker, the song starts slow and gradually picks up speed and intensity. The opening bass gives way to the strumming guitar, before turning into a full-on boogie at the end, complete with horns. All the while Orbison's voice keeps pace but never rushes into out-of-control territory.

Though 'dream baby' later became a major country hit, the song's simple lyrics and structure see it work best as a blues number. It's at once sorrowful and joyous, blissfully content and woefully yearning. But above all else, the song is a fantastic example of how sometimes less is more.

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