Skip to main content

ASU honors music of Roy Orbison

January 02, 2008

Arizona State University will celebrate Roy Orbison’s unparalleled contributions to rock ‘n’ roll with a series of events beginning in late January, including a tribute concert Jan. 25 at the new Tempe Center for the Arts.

ASU’s Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture will honor Orbison during the concert with a posthumous lifetime achievement award, which will be presented to Barbara Orbison, his widow and former manager. Barbara Orbison also will be presented with a legacy award, honoring her dedication to keeping her late husband’s music alive since his death in 1988.

“A Tribute to Roy Orbison” will commemorate Orbison’s influence in musical culture through a film screening, concert, gallery exhibit and symposium. It is presented by ASU's Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the city of Tempe and the Tempe Center for the Arts. More information is available online at

All tribute events are free and open to the public. Tickets are required for the film screening and the tribute concert. Reservations can be arranged starting Jan. 8, at the Tempe Center for the Arts box office, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway, in person or by phone, (480) 350-2TCA (2822).

“Roy Orbison’s music was a departure from the norms of his time and for that reason has proven to be timeless. Today, his songs sound as relevant and fresh as ever,” says professor Peter Lehman, director of ASU’s Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture and author of “Roy Orbison: The Invention of an Alternative Rock Masculinity.”

The film “Roadie,” featuring the music of Orbison, will be screened at 8 p.m. on Jan. 24 at the Tempe Center for the Arts. An introduction will be presented by writer and executive producer Zalman King and producer Carolyn Pfeiffer. The film features a duet of “That Loving You Feeling Again,” which Orbison recorded with Emmylou Harris.

Dallas entrepreneur Glen Agritelley will bring the largest private collection of Orbison memorabilia to the Tempe Center for the Arts for a gallery exhibition Jan. 25 to April 18. Titled “Mercy: a Roy Orbison Pilgrimage,” the exhibition spans four decades of the development of Orbison's music, persona and influence upon other musicians. The collection features nearly 100 items spanning Orbison’s prolific career, including a signed Kramer red guitar, concert posters, original sheet music and costumes.

A gallery talk by Agritelley will take place 11 a.m. on Jan. 25 at the Tempe Center for the Arts.

The Roy Orbison Tribute Concert at 8 p.m. on Jan. 25 at the Tempe Center for the Arts will feature the Truly Lover Trio performing the songs of Orbison and the Herberger String Quartet performing the world premiere of Kim Scharnberg’s arrangement “Suite on the Tunes of Roy Orbison.” During the concert, two awards – a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Legacy Award – will be given by ASU’s Center for Film, Media and Popular Culture.

A symposium exploring Orbison’s life, his music and its cultural impact will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Jan. 26 in the Student Services Building Amphitheater at ASU’s Tempe campus. The first panel discussion, "Working with Roy Orbison," will feature professional record producers, songwriters and filmmakers who have worked with Orbison or his music. The second, "Roy Orbison: His Music, Career, Fans and Legacy," will feature scholars and experts speaking about Orbison’s recordings, concert performances, fans and international career.

Erica Velasco,
(480) 965-1156
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences