Obituaries

Bill Dees, co-writer of 'Oh, Pretty Woman' was 73


Orbison and Dees on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Bill Dees was a Nashville songwriter working with Roy Orbison in 1964 when they wrote 'Oh, Pretty Woman," inspired by Orbison's wife Claudette. The song went to #1 on the charts in the U.S. and Britain and changed both of their lives forever. Dees sang harmony on 'Oh, Pretty Woman" and later collaborated with Orbison on "It’s Over,” and wrote songs for Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Glen Campbell and others. Dees also had a solo career. He died of brain cancer Oct. 24 in Mountain Home, Arkansas. NYT, Rolling Stone, Spinner

Below, Orbison does "Oh, Pretty Woman" at the Coconut Grove in the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard on September 30, 1987, backed by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther, k.d. lang, Jennifer Warnes, and Bonnie Raitt, plus others. This performance of the song, for a Cinemax TV special, "Roy Orbison and Friends, A Black and White Night," won the 1991 Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.


Orbison died in Tennessee on December 6, 1988 at age 52. He is interred here at the Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, which is represented musically also by Oscar Levant, Peggy Lee, Stan Kenton, Gregor Piatigorsky, Buddy Rich, Mel Torme, Carl Wilson and Frank Zappa, among others.


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