Roy Orbison: Too Soon to Know


I must admit I always felt a bit uneasy about this one. It was released in August 1966, two months after Orbison’s wife Claudette died in a motorbike accident on June 6. I believe he recorded the track on June 1, so it was not a direct response to her death, but was it tasteless to put it out so soon?

It was written and first recorded in 1958 by Don Gibson and released as the B-side of his single Blue Blue Day, which reached No 20 in America.

At some stage, fortunately, he re-recorded it without the strangulated soprano.

Orbison recorded it as a track for his album Roy Orbison Sings Don Gibson, which was released in 1967, but I have a horrible feeling that someone spotted the opportunity to cash in on his wife’s death and got it on the market quickly. It got to No 68 in the States but did much better in the UK, reaching No 3, despite (or probably because of) a BBC ban on the grounds that it was too personal about Claudette’s death.

Here is a live performance from 1972.

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