Roy Orbison would have turned 75 this year. Nearly twenty-three years after the legendary singer-songwriter's premature passing, the three-disc (2 CD/1 DVD) set, The Monument Singles Collection, gives fans a perfect reason to celebrate. The first disc collects twenty A-sides released by Orbison on Monument Records from 1960-1964; the second disc consists of nineteen B-sides released during the same period. All thirty-nine tracks are presented in their original mono mixes. The DVD contains a nine-song 1965 concert taped in Holland.
Orbison's work has been anthologized many times over, the most complete being the mammoth boxset, The Soul of Rock and Roll. Budget-conscious fans could do a lot worse than the double-disc The Essential Roy Orbison. But The Monument Singles Collection is a great choice for two different potential buyers. On one hand, completists will want these mono mixes — the first time they've all been issued as such since the original 7" vinyl versions. Additionally, this is the DVD debut of the concert footage. On the other hand, brand new fans (or those who only own one of the skimpier, previous compilations) have a chance to get a treasure trove of material from Orbison's peak years in one fell swoop.
The biggest hits are all found on the first disc, including such oldies-channel staples as "Only the Lonely," "Oh, Pretty Woman," and "Dream Baby." Of course, these days you're lucky to ever hear classics like "Running Scared," "Crying," and "Blue Bayou" on the radio. They are all present and accounted for here, though, along with other big hits like "In Dreams" (so indelibly featured in David Lynch's Blue Velvet). Beyond the most recognizable titles, there are tons of largely forgotten hits highlighting the A-sides disc. Most of the songs collected here appeared in Billboard's Top Forty, even if they rarely get aired publicly anymore.