Roy Orbison: She Wears My Ring ( 1962)

 |   |  1 min read

Roy Orbison: She Wears My Ring ( 1962)

If anyone could have the operatic reach for She Wears My Ring it was the big-voiced Solomon King who scored a hit with it in 1968. Trained as a cantor, King was a balladeer of the old style (although his Happy Again is hilarious, you could imagine Groucho Marx dancing along like a demented puppet).

Elvis also covered the song in '73.

Neither were the first to undertake it, and in fact nor was Australian rocker Johnny O'Keefe who covered it in '64 . . . or Roy Orbison who got to it two years before him.

The first version had been cut by Jimmy Bell in '60 . . . but we have to also concede that in a way even he wasn't the first.

The lyrics by Nashville songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant – who wrote Love Hurts, Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, Raining in My Heart and dozens of other country-rock classics – had been added to a melody written a full century before Orbison by a Mexican physician Narcisco Serradell Sevilla when he was living in exile in France.

Back then the song was La Golondrina/The Swallow and was an aching lament adopted by Mexicans who had fled or were run out of their homeland. The lyrics then sang of the swallow migrating back home.

It has been sung by dozens of Mexican and Spanish artists like Placido Domingo (also Nat King Cole) but when the Bryants' heard the melody they grabbed onto its plaintive tone and penned new lyrics.

Oddly enough while their lyrics are optimistic Roy Orbison typically finds a degree of sadness which he brings to his interpretation.

Orbison's version can be found on a collection we essayed previously, Classical Gassers: Pop Gems Inspired by the Great Composers.

For more one-off, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory check the daily postings at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Michael Bolton: Steel Bars (1991)

Michael Bolton: Steel Bars (1991)

And in what is undoubtedly a first at Elsewhere, we mention the name Michael Bolton, the shouty and soaring blue-eyed soul singer who was enormously popular with the ladies in the late Eighties and... > Read more

Bob Dylan: Who Killed Davey Moore? (1963)

Bob Dylan: Who Killed Davey Moore? (1963)

Bob Dylan's Hurricane in '75 is one of the best known songs about a boxer -- but very early in his career Dylan also sang another about a boxer, the fighter Davey Moore who was knocked out by... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER GREG PARSLOE explains the addiction of stockcar racing

GUEST WRITER GREG PARSLOE explains the addiction of stockcar racing

I blame my father for my addiction. Week in, week out, he dragged us kids along to Waikaraka Park Speedway for “Stockies” on a Saturday night during the Seventies. At first it... > Read more

ERNEST RANGLIN INTERVIEWED (1999): Ska pioneer

ERNEST RANGLIN INTERVIEWED (1999): Ska pioneer

What becomes a legend most? In the case of Ernest Ranglin, good humour and modesty. This legend of Jamaican singlehandedly created ska back in the Fifties; recorded the young Bob Marley;... > Read more