3 sons unite to create new Roy Orbison song

CHRIS TALBOTT AP Music Writer Published:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Roy Orbison's three sons are all musicians but never really got to play music with their dad -- until now.

Wesley, Roy Jr. and Alex Orbison have helped create a new song by their father that will appear on the 25th anniversary reissue and expansion of Orbison's final album, "Mystery Girl." They found an old vocal track for a song called "The Way is Love" originally recorded on a boombox and were able to reclaim it using technology that had to be created to accomplish the work. They then added new instrumentation with the help of another son of a music legend, co-producer John Carter Cash.

"It really brought us closer together in a lot of ways," said Alex Orbison, 38, who contributed drums and backing vocals to the track. "We were able to finish it up and get it out by Father's Day, too, which was obviously special to us."

"Mystery Girl" will be re-released May 20 with "The Way is Love" one of nine previously unheard songs. Alex Orbison also directed a documentary. Orbison was going through a career renaissance at the time he released "Mystery Girl." The "Oh, Pretty Woman" singer had just earned a new round of attention working with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty in The Travelling Wilburys and was excited about the new album.

It included contributions from Lynne, Petty and most of his Heartbreakers, Bono and the Edge of U2, Elvis Costello and many other friends. His wife, Barbara, acted as his manager at the time and even sang backup on the album. Wesley Orbison wrote a song as well.

Sadly, though, he passed away two months before its release in February 1989 at age 52.

His sons got to experience something of that excitement nearly a quarter of a century later. They weren't able to record with their dad, but it most definitely was a family moment.

"We all just wanted to not stop recording," Alex Orbison said. "That was the first thing: 'When are we going to do an Orbison Brothers record? We had so much fun. It was really too much fun."

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