Wednesday, December 10, 2008


(Used with permission)
December 7, 2008

Photo By Special to Record Publishing Co.
Bill Dees, seated, and Wesley Orbison play during a Jan 25 concert at Arizona State University.  The college honored Roy Orbison with a three-day tribute in which he was posthumously given a Career Achievement Award. A group of Roy Orbison fans, including Hudson resident Marty Erbaugh, gather annually in December to celebrate his career.

by Tim TroglenReporter
 -- Twenty years ago, a man from Vernon, Texas, brought his trademark straight black hair, dark glasses and hauntingly melodious voice to Ohio's Front Row Theater.
A few days later, the world mourned as that man, Roy Orbison, died at his home in Tennessee.
A year later, two men, Marty Erbaugh from Hudson and David Shoenfelt of Akron, got together and formed a group of Roy Orbison fans which have met every year since -- including this weekend in Akron.

Erbaugh said his love of the legendary singer's music began in 1965 when the band he performed with opened for Orbison at a concert near Cincinnati.
"We opened for several bands that have become very famous," Erbaugh said.
However, Erbaugh said he had never seen Orbison perform live until 1965.
"He was very unassuming, but approachable," Erbaugh said. "And he was shy."
From then on, Erbaugh, who is a private investor and sits on the board of trustees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, said he was hooked.
When Orbison came to Ohio 1988, Shoenfelt, a professional photographer and Orbison fan, was there to capture the images, not knowing this would be the Orbison's last concert.
Shoenfelt said he "connected" to Orbison's music the first time he heard it.
"I was the only one in my family who liked him," Shoenfelt said.
After the concert, Shoenfelt put an add in Rolling Stone magazine's tribute edition to Orbison, advertising the selling of the pictures.
"I responded to his ad, found out he was in Akron and said 'let's get together,'" Erbaugh remembered.

He said the pair talked about their love for Orbison's music and discussed the possibility of getting together with other fans. Their first gathering was in 1989.
According to Shoenfelt, fans from all over the world continued to contact him to buy the pictures.
"I kept track of all the people and talked to Marty," Shoenfelt said. "He said, 'Wouldn't it be cool if a few of us got together and listened to Roy and talked?' We did, and that was 20 years ago."
Erbaugh said two people from the West Coast and other fans from Alabama and Maine attended the first gathering.
"There were about 10 people, and we thoroughly enjoyed the time," Erbaugh said.
He said word spread, and now members come from as far away as Australia, England and Holland.

Shoenfelt said the group, which meets in private homes, has grown from two to more than 100.
"I've never met a Roy Orbison fan I didn't like," he said. "His music attracts a certain style of personality."
The gatherings are not open to the public. Group members bring Orbison memorabilia and discuss their favorites songs, memories and thoughts on his music and life, Erbaugh said.
Erbaugh said he owns the original acetate recordings of several or Orbison's songs, and members of the group have an entire collection of original Orbison studio sessions.
Over the years, members of the Orbison family have gotten involved, including Wesley Orbison, who is a regular attendee to the annual get together in Akron and Hudson.
Wesley is the son of Roy Orbison and his first wife, Claudette. She was killed in motorcycle accident in 1966.

"It took Wesley about four or five years to get used to our group," Shoenfelt said.
Shoenfelt said the group "never really worked to be something."
"But we always enjoyed ourselves and always come back," he said.
Erbaugh said the group continues to grow and meet because the music of Orbison "never grows old."
Another attendee is Bill Dees, co-writer on 67 of Orbison's songs, including "Pretty Woman." Shoenfelt said Wesley, who also toured with country legend Johnny Cash, and Dees are "best friends" and sometimes perform together.
"I love this," Dees said of the get-together to honor his friend. "Roy Orbison fans are like family."

Dees, who said Orbison had a great influence on him, added it is "amazing that anyone would do something like this for anyone."
He said the pair worked on 10 songs together the year Orbison died.
"He was a wonderful friend and the kindest, most patient man -- most of the time," Dees laughed.
Dees said he believes his friend and writing partner, who he also shared a deep faith in God with, has "passed from death and into eternal life."
And he also said Orbison would have been pleased by the group's efforts to honor him. Dees said Orbison used to tell him "I'd just like to be remembered."

(*Thank you so much, Tim Troglen)
(*Thank you so much, Barb)
    * It seems that at least some of the media agree with “Roy to the World”. I was a wonderful time, friends, Wesley Orbison, Bill Dees remembering ROY make the sad time, enjoyable.  Wesley is such a nice young man and he is so comfortable with us now........very special * -Barb.