Roy Orbison - Oh Pretty Woman - 1964

Introduction to "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison

Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," released in 1964, is an iconic song that remains a classic in the realm of rock music. This track, known for its distinctive melody and Orbison's powerful voice, made a significant impact in the 1960s and continues to influence artists today. In this aiMOOC, we will explore various aspects of "Oh, Pretty Woman," including its musical composition, lyrics, and the story behind its creation.

  1. Learn about the background of Roy Orbison and his music career: Roy Orbison
  2. Understand the 1960s music scene and how "Oh, Pretty Woman" fits into it: 1960s in Music
  3. Explore the songwriting process and the collaboration behind the track: Songwriting

The Song's Impact and Legacy

"Oh, Pretty Woman" not only topped the charts but also left an indelible mark on the music industry. Its influence can be seen in various aspects of popular culture and music.

  1. Analyze the song's influence on rock and pop music: Rock Music
  2. Discover how "Oh, Pretty Woman" has been referenced and covered by other artists: Cover Versions
  3. Explore the song's role in popular culture, including movies and TV shows: Popular Culture

Musical Analysis

The musical composition of "Oh, Pretty Woman" is notable for its unique blend of elements that helped define the rock genre of the 1960s. Let's dive into the musical structure and stylistic choices that make this song stand out.

  1. Examine the song's melody and chord progression: Melody
  2. Discuss the use of instruments and arrangement in the track: Musical Arrangement
  3. Understand the rhythm and beat that give "Oh, Pretty Woman" its distinctive sound: Rhythm and Beat

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

In what year was "Oh, Pretty Woman" released? (1964) (!1958) (!1962) (!1970)

Which record label released "Oh, Pretty Woman"? (Monument Records) (!Capitol Records) (!Columbia Records) (!RCA Records)

What is unique about the song's intro? (It features a distinctive guitar riff) (!It starts with a piano solo) (!It begins with an a cappella vocal) (!It opens with a drum solo)

How did "Oh, Pretty Woman" perform on the music charts? (It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100) (!It peaked at number five on the Billboard Hot 100) (!It didn't enter the top 10) (!It was a top hit in the UK but not in the US)

Who co-wrote "Oh, Pretty Woman" with Roy Orbison? (Bill Dees) (!Joe Melson) (!George Harrison) (!Elvis Presley)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What is Roy Orbison's nickname reflecting his distinctive voice and style? (The Big O) (!The Voice) (!The Rockabilly King) (!The Gentleman of Music)

Which musical movement is Roy Orbison often associated with? (Rock and Roll) (!Folk Music) (!Disco) (!Rhythm and Blues)

Which of these instruments was Roy Orbison known for playing? (Guitar) (!Drums) (!Saxophone) (!Piano)

In addition to his solo career, Roy Orbison was a part of which supergroup? (The Traveling Wilburys) (!The Highwaymen) (!The Beatles) (!Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)

Which characteristic feature was part of Roy Orbison's iconic stage presence? (His dark sunglasses) (!His cowboy hat) (!His colorful suits) (!His long hair)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What is the opening line of "Oh, Pretty Woman"? ("Pretty woman, walking down the street") (!"Lovely woman, oh you look so sweet") (!"Beautiful lady, in the sunlight") (!"Gorgeous girl, stepping out tonight")

Which of the following is a recurring line in the song? ("Mercy!") (!"Oh, yes!") (!"Alright!") (!"Listen!")

In the lyrics, how does the singer describe the woman's style of walking? ("Walking like a beautiful queen") (!"Moving like a gentle breeze") (!"Dancing like she's in a dream") (!"Strutting with a graceful ease")

What is the singer's reaction when the pretty woman walks away from him? (He laments, "But wait, what do I see?") (!He cheers, "That's alright with me!") (!He wonders, "Will she remember me?") (!He sighs, "That's just my fantasy")

Towards the end of the song, what does the singer realize about the pretty woman? (She is coming back to him) (!She was just a dream) (!She is someone he knew before) (!She is a famous movie star)


Release Year of "Oh, Pretty Woman" 1964
Co-writer of the Song Bill Dees
Roy Orbison's Nickname The Big O
Opening Lyric "Pretty woman, walking down the street"
Roy Orbison's Supergroup The Traveling Wilburys

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Compile a playlist of songs from the 1960s, including "Oh, Pretty Woman" and others that share a similar style or mood.
  2. Write a Short Biography: Write a brief biography of Roy Orbison, focusing on his early career and the era of "Oh, Pretty Woman."
  3. Explore Musical Influences: Research and list other artists and songs that influenced "Oh, Pretty Woman."


  1. Analyze Lyrics: Analyze the lyrics of "Oh, Pretty Woman," discussing themes and literary devices used.
  2. Music Video Creation: Create a concept for a modern music video for "Oh, Pretty Woman."
  3. Musical Comparison: Compare "Oh, Pretty Woman" to another hit song from the 1960s, focusing on musical style and cultural impact.


  1. Songwriting Exercise: Write an original song inspired by "Oh, Pretty Woman," incorporating elements like storytelling and melody.
  2. Historical Context Analysis: Analyze the impact of social and cultural events in the 1960s on the popularity of "Oh, Pretty Woman."
  3. Perform a Cover Version: Arrange and perform a cover version of "Oh, Pretty Woman," adding your own unique twist.

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Oral Exam

  1. Song's Influence: Discuss how "Oh, Pretty Woman" influenced future musicians and its role in shaping rock music.
  2. Roy Orbison's Artistry: Evaluate Roy Orbison's contribution to music, focusing on his vocal style and songwriting.
  3. 1960s Music Scene: Explain the significance of the 1960s music scene and how "Oh, Pretty Woman" fit into it.
  4. Cultural Impact: Analyze the cultural impact of "Oh, Pretty Woman" in the context of the 20th century.
  5. Lyrics Interpretation: Offer a personal interpretation of the lyrics of "Oh, Pretty Woman," discussing its narrative and emotive power.

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