The Info List - Mystery Girl

Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
is the twenty-second album by American singer Roy Orbison. It was completed in November 1988, a month before his death at the age of 52, and released on the Virgin record label in February 1989. It includes the hit singles "You Got It", which was co-written by Orbison and his Traveling Wilburys
Traveling Wilburys
bandmates Jeff Lynne
Jeff Lynne
and Tom Petty, and "She's a Mystery to Me", written by Bono
and The Edge. The album was a critical and commercial success; it peaked at number 5 on the Billboard 200
Billboard 200
in the United States, the highest position Orbison had achieved on that chart, and number 2 on the UK Albums Chart.[2] Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
was Orbison's first album of all-new material since 1979 and its success posthumously continued the resurgence that his career had undergone since 1986. Among the many other contributors to the album were Mike Campbell and other members of the Heartbreakers, T Bone Burnett, George Harrison, Jim Keltner and Rick Vito. For the 25th anniversary of its release, the album was reissued with bonus tracks including "The Way Is Love", a song recorded by Orbison on a cassette tape in the 1980s that was subsequently completed by his sons and producer John Carter Cash.


1 Recording 2 Release and reception 3 Track listing 4 Personnel 5 Accolades

5.1 Grammy Awards

6 Chart positions

6.1 Weekly charts 6.2 Year-end charts

7 Certifications 8 References

Recording[edit] Before making Mystery Girl, Roy Orbison's last album of new material had been 1979's Laminar Flow. This release followed a run of commercial and critical failures in the United States
United States
since his years of international stardom in the early 1960s.[3] From 1986,[4] support from admirers such as filmmaker David Lynch
David Lynch
and Bruce Springsteen reversed this trend, rescuing him from relative obscurity in his homeland as Orbison again became a popular concert draw.[5] Jeff Lynne, another long-time admirer, began writing songs with Orbison over Christmas 1987 for a proposed new album. The track "You Got It" was written at this time and was a collaboration between Lynne, Orbison and Tom Petty. With Lynne as his producer, Orbison recorded "You Got It" in April 1988 at the garage studio of Petty's bandmate in the Heartbreakers, Mike Campbell.[6] Recording for the album continued alongside Orbison's involvement in the Traveling Wilburys, a supergroup project initiated by George Harrison and Lynne[7][8] that also included Petty and Bob Dylan.[9] Aside from further Lynne-produced sessions for Mystery Girl, to which Petty and Harrison contributed,[10] Orbison recorded some of the songs with Campbell, T Bone Burnett
T Bone Burnett
and his wife Barbara Orbison[4] each in the role of producer.[11] The Heartbreakers played on much of the album,[12] while Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
contributed the song "The Comedians".[4] The album was named after the chorus from the track "She's a Mystery to Me", which was written by U2's Bono
and The Edge. In the documentary In Dreams: The Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Story, Bono
says he woke up for a concert soundcheck, following a late night listening to the soundtrack to Lynch's Blue Velvet, and had the tune of the title song in his head, figuring it was another Orbison song ("In Dreams" was the only Orbison song on that album). During the soundcheck, he performed "She's a Mystery to Me" for the other members of U2, who agreed that it sounded like an Orbison song. Orbison later met the band backstage at one of their concerts and subsequently asked Bono
if he would like to write a song either with or for him. Recording for the album was completed in November 1988. Having maintained a busy schedule of concert performances, Orbison told Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
at this time that he was experiencing chest pains and would need to do something about his health.[13] On December 6, two days after performing a show in Highland Heights, Ohio, Orbison died of a heart attack, at the age of 52.[14] Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings

Review scores

Source Rating

AllMusic [4]

Robert Christgau B[15]

Encyclopedia of Popular Music [16]

Houston Chronicle [17]

Los Angeles Times [18]

MusicHound 3/5[16]

Music Story [16]

Q [19]

Rolling Stone [20]

Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
was Orbison's first significant critical and commercial success as a solo artist since the mid-1960s. [21] It was released in February 1989 and followed the Wilburys' Traveling Wilburys
Traveling Wilburys
Vol. 1 into the higher reaches of the US albums chart.[4] On April 8, 1989, Orbison became the first deceased musician since Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
to have two albums in the top five positions in the US, with the Traveling Wilburys album at number 4 and Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
at number 5.[22] This was the highest placing he had achieved for an album in the US, and the single, "You Got It", which peaked at number 9, was Orbison's first top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100
Billboard Hot 100
since "Oh, Pretty Woman" in 1964.[11] In the United Kingdom, on the national chart dated to February 11, 1989, Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
was listed at number 2 (its peak position there), as the compilation The Legendary Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
was at number 3.[23] In his contemporary review for the Chicago Tribune, David Silverman lamented that, given the expectations caused by Orbison's death, "the publicity and fanfare have threatened to cheapen the album, reducing it to novelty status while directing attention away from its rightful distinction as one of Orbison's finest works – a comeback to match his legendary status." Silverman especially admired "Dream You" and said that the only weak track was "The Comedians", where "the openly rancorous story" was unsuitable for such "an unrequited romantic" as Orbison.[24] By contrast, New York Times critic Stephen Holden highlighted "The Comedians" as the album's "outstanding song", saying that it was a "witty parody" of Orbison's 1961 hit "Running Scared" that the singer had succeeded in transcending from mere homage due to his expressive vocal. Holden added that, throughout Mystery Girl, "the singing, songwriting and production do a superb job of bringing Orbison up to date without diluting his haunted hyper-romantic fervor."[25] The Deseret News' reviewer described it as a "great, great album" that sealed Orbison's comeback after the Traveling Wilburys' recent success and reinforced what a true loss his death was to popular music. The reviewer admired Orbison's ability to work effectively with his collaborators and highlighted "You Got It" as an "exceptional single" and "She's a Mystery to Me" as "perhaps the best song on the album".[26] In May 2014, Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
was reissued in a 25th anniversary edition. It included bonus material such as demos and a new song, "The Way Is Love", which was completed by John Carter Cash
John Carter Cash
and Orbison's sons from a cassette demo recorded in around 1986. Track listing[edit]

Side one

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length

1. "You Got It" Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty Jeff Lynne 3:30

2. "In the Real World" Richard Kerr, Will Jennings Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell, Barbara Orbison 3:44

3. "(All I Can Do Is) Dream You" Billy Burnette, David Malloy T-Bone Burnett 3:39

4. "A Love So Beautiful" Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne Jeff Lynne 3:33

5. "California Blue" Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty Jeff Lynne 3:57

Side two

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length

6. "She's a Mystery to Me" Bono, The Edge Bono 4:16

7. "The Comedians" Elvis Costello T-Bone Burnett 3:26

8. "The Only One" Wesley Orbison, Craig Wiseman Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell 3:55

9. "Windsurfer" Roy Orbison, Bill Dees Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell 4:01

10. "Careless Heart" Roy Orbison, Diane Warren, Albert Hammond Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell 4:08

Bonus track (2007 reissue)

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length

11. "You May Feel Me Crying" Richard Kerr, Will Jennings Brian Eno[27] 4:14

Bonus tracks (2014 Legacy Recordings
Legacy Recordings

No. Title Writer(s) Length

11. "The Way Is Love" Roy Orbison, Bill Dees 4:12

12. "She's a Mystery to Me" (Studio demo) Bono, The Edge 4:51

13. "(All I Can Do Is) Dream You" (Studio demo) Billy Burnette, David Malloy 4:34

14. "The Only One" (Studio demo) Wesley Orbison, Craig Wiseman 5:12

15. "The Comedians" (Studio demo) Elvis Costello 3:25

16. "In the Real World" (Studio demo) Richard Kerr, Will Jennings 3:38

17. "California Blue" (Studio demo) Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty 4:42

18. "Windsurfer" (Work-tape demo) Roy Orbison, Bill Dees 3:50

19. "You Are My Love" (Work-tape demo) Roy Orbison, Bill Dees 2:35

Personnel[edit] Core contributors

Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
– vocals, backing vocals, acoustic guitar on 1 2 4 5 8 10, electric guitar on 6 Jeff Lynne
Jeff Lynne
– electric guitar on 1 5, acoustic guitar on 4, keyboards on 1 4 5, piano on 1, bass on 1 4 5, backing vocals on 1 4 5 9 Tom Petty
Tom Petty
– acoustic guitar on 1 5, backing vocals on 1 2 5 Mike Campbell – electric guitar on 2 10, acoustic guitar on 5 9 10, bass on 2 10, mandolin on 5 Jim Keltner – drums on 2 6 7 8 9 10 Howie Epstein
Howie Epstein
– bass on 6 8 9, backing vocals on 2 8 9 10 Benmont Tench
Benmont Tench
– piano on 6 8 9 10, organ on 8, cheap strings on 6

Additional musicians

Phil Jones – drums on 1, percussion on 1 Michael Utley
Michael Utley
– string arrangements on 1 2 7 9 Barbara Orbison
Barbara Orbison
– backing vocals on 2 Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Jr. – backing vocals on 2 Al Kooper
Al Kooper
– organ on 2 Billy Burnette – acoustic guitar on 3, backing vocals on 3 Rick Vito – electric guitar on 3, backing vocals on 3, slide guitar on 9 Tom "T-Bone" Wolk – bass on 3 Buell Neidlinger – arco bass on 3 7 Mickey Curry
Mickey Curry
– drums on 3 George Harrison
George Harrison
– acoustic guitar on 4 Ray Cooper
Ray Cooper
– drums on 4 Louis Clark
Louis Clark
– strings arrangements on 4 5 Ian Wallace – drums on 5, percussion on 5 Bono
– electric guitar on 6 David Rhodes – electric guitar on 7 T Bone Burnett
T Bone Burnett
– electric guitar on 7 Mitchell Froom – piano on 7 Jerry Scheff
Jerry Scheff
– string bass on 7 David Miner – string bass on 7 Gary Coleman – percussion on 7 Steve Cropper
Steve Cropper
– electric guitar on 8 The Memphis Horns – horns by Jim Horn, arranged by Steve Cropper
Steve Cropper
on 8

Accolades[edit] Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result

1990 "You Got It" Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male[28] Nominated

Chart positions[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1989) Position

Australian ARIA Albums Chart[29] 1

Austrian Albums Chart[30] 4

Dutch Mega Albums Chart[31] 1

German Media Control Albums Chart [32] 4

Japanese Oricon
Albums Chart[33] 89

New Zealand Albums Chart [34] 7

Norwegian VG-lista Albums Chart[35] 1

Swedish Albums Chart[36] 1

Swiss Albums Chart[37] 3

UK Albums Chart
UK Albums Chart
[38] 2

United States
United States
Billboard 200[39] 5

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1989) Position

Australian Albums Chart[40] 9

Austrian Albums Chart[41] 29

Canadian Albums Chart[42] 8

Dutch Albums Chart[43] 17

Swiss Albums Chart[44] 26

UK Albums Chart[45] 51

U.S. Billboard 200[46] 42


Region Certification Certified units/Sales

Canada (Music Canada)[47] 3× Platinum 300,000^

(BVMI)[48] Gold 250,000^

Netherlands (NVPI)[49] Platinum 100,000^

Spain (PROMUSICAE)[50] Platinum 100,000^

Sweden (GLF)[51] Platinum 100,000^

Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[52] Gold 25,000^

United Kingdom (BPI)[53] Platinum 300,000^

United States
United States
(RIAA)[54] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


^ Clayson, Alan (2003). George Harrison. London: Sanctuary. pp. 422–23. ISBN 1-86074-489-3.  ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 408–409. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  ^ Lehman, Peter (2010). Roy Orbison: The Invention of an Alternative Rock Masculinity. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press. pp. 16, 161. ISBN 978-1-439903896.  ^ a b c d e Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. " Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Mystery Girl". AllMusic. Retrieved November 15, 2017.  ^ Lehman 2010, pp. 16, 154, 161. ^ Van der Kiste, John (2015). Jeff Lynne: The Electric Light Orchestra, Before and After. Stroud, UK: Fonthill Media. p. 116. ISBN 978-1-78155-492-0.  ^ Zimmer, Dave (5 May 1989). "Tom Petty: Once In A Full Moon". BAM.  Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required). ^ Van der Kiste 2015, pp. 112–13, 120. ^ Romanowski, Patricia; George-Warren, Holly (eds) (1995). The New Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York, NY: Fireside/ Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Press. p. 1014. ISBN 0-684-81044-1. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Clayson 2003, pp. 422–23. ^ a b Romanowski & George-Warren 1995, p. 730. ^ Zollo, Paul (2005). Conversations with Tom Petty. New York, NY: Omnibus Press. p. 132. ISBN 1-84449-815-8.  ^ Amburn, Ellis (1990). Dark Star: The Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Story. New York, NY: Carol Publishing Group. pp. 227–28. ISBN 0-8184-0518-X.  ^ Clayson, Alan (1989). Only the Lonely: Roy Orbison's Life and Legacy. London: St. Martin's Press. p. 213. ISBN 0-312-03961-1.  ^ "CG: Roy Orbison". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved September 9, 2011.  ^ a b c " Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Mystery Girl". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved November 15, 2017.  ^ Claypool, Bob (February 12, 1989). "Records". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved November 4, 2011.  ^ Hilburn, Robert (January 29, 1989). "The Albums of Winter: Posthumous Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
release leads the pack". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 1, 2011.  ^ Hilburn, Robert (March 19, 1989). "Roy Orbison's 'Mystery' Success: The story behind his posthumous hit". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 4, 2018. In England, the influential Q magazine gave 'Mystery Girl' a maximum five stars, describing it as 'a stunning introduction to the magic of Roy Orbison.'  ^ link Archived May 9, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. ^ Lehman 2010, p. 17. ^ "Billboard album chart, page 80 of this issue" (PDF).  ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 75 - Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com.  ^ Silverman, David (February 2, 1989). "Orbison's 'Mystery Girl' Is A Poignant Comeback". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 16, 2017.  ^ Holden, Stephen (February 15, 1989). "The Pop Life". The New York Times. Retrieved November 16, 2017.  ^ Staff writer (March 10, 1989). "On the Record: Last Album
by Orbison Was a Winner". Deseret News. Retrieved November 16, 2017.  ^ "Roy Oabison The Soul of Rock and Roll 4-CD box set features 12 unreleased songs". Archived from The Official Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Site the original Check url= value (help) on 2012-03-09. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "HERE'S LIST OF NOMINEES FROM ALL 77 CATEGORIES". deseretnews.com. Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-08-31.  ^ "australian-charts.com Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
- Mystery Girl". Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2011-09-21. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ " Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
- Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
– austriancharts.at" (in German). Archived from the original on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "dutchcharts.nl Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
- Mystery Girl". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2011-08-08.  ^ " Album
Search: Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
- Mystery Girl" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ ロイ・オービソン-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック "Highest position and charting weeks of Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
by Roy Orbison" Check url= value (help). oricon.co.jp (in Japanese). Oricon
Style. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "charts.org.nz — Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
- Mystery Girl". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "norwegiancharts.com Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
- Mystery Girl". VG-lista. Archived from the original on 2012-10-20. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "swedishcharts.com Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
- Mystery Girl" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ " Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
- Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
— hitparade.ch" (in German). Retrieved 2011-08-08.  ^ "Chart Stats — Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
— Mystery Girl". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ AllMusic - Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
> Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums ^ " ARIA Charts
ARIA Charts
- End of Year Charts - Top 50 Albums 1989". aria.com.au. Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "Austriancharts.at — Jahreshitparade 1989" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1989". RPM. 1989-12-23. Archived from the original on 2013-12-31. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1989" (ASP) (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014-05-01.  ^ "Hitparade.ch — Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1989". Swiss Music Charts (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album
Charts". Archived from the original on 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2014-04-29.  ^ "The Billboard 200
Billboard 200
- Year-end: 1989". Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2011-10-03.  ^ "Canadian album certifications – Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
– Mystery Girl". Music Canada.  ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Roy Orbison; 'Mystery Girl')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.  ^ "Dutch album certifications – Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
– Mystery Girl" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers.  ^ "Solo Exitos 1959-2002 Ano A Ano: Certificados 1979-1990". Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392.  ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden.  ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Roy Orbison; 'Mystery Girl')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.  ^ "British album certifications – Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
– Mystery Girl". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
in the search field and then press Enter. ^ "American album certifications – Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
– Mystery Girl". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

Preceded by Look Sharp! by Roxette Swedish Chart number-one album February 8 - March 22, 1989 Succeeded by Like a Prayer by Madonna

Preceded by Anything for You by Gloria Estefan
Gloria Estefan
& Miami Sound Machine Dutch Mega Chart number-one album February 18, 1989 Succeeded by Anything for You by Gloria Estefan
Gloria Estefan
& Miami Sound Machine

Preceded by Traveling Wilburys
Traveling Wilburys
Vol. 1 by Traveling Wilburys ARIA Charts
ARIA Charts
number-one album February 27 - March 26, 1989 Succeeded by Hits of '89 Volume 1 by Various artists

Preceded by Ancient Heart
Ancient Heart
by Tanita Tikaram Norwegian VG-lista number-one album 07 - 09/1989 Succeeded by Solregn by Åge Aleksandersen

v t e

Roy Orbison

Studio albums

Lonely and Blue
Lonely and Blue
(1961) Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
at the Rock House (1961) Crying (1962) In Dreams (1963) There Is Only One Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
(1965) Orbisongs
(1965) The Orbison Way
The Orbison Way
(1966) The Classic Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
(1966) Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Sings Don Gibson (1967) The Fastest Guitar Alive
The Fastest Guitar Alive
(1967) Cry Softly Lonely One
Cry Softly Lonely One
(1967) Roy Orbison's Many Moods
Roy Orbison's Many Moods
(1969) Big O (1970) Hank Williams the Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Way (1970) Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
Sings (1972) Memphis (1972) Milestones (1973) I'm Still In Love With You (1976) Regeneration (1977) Laminar Flow (1979) In Dreams: The Greatest Hits (1987 – studio re-recordings of earlier hits) Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
(1989) King of Hearts (1992) One of the Lonely Ones
One of the Lonely Ones


Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits
Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits
(1962) More of Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits
Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits
(1964) Early Orbison
Early Orbison
(1964) The Great Songs of Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
(1970) The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
(1972) In Dreams: The Greatest Hits (1987) 16 Biggest Hits (1999) A Love So Beautiful (2017)


Class of '55
Class of '55
(1986) Traveling Wilburys
Traveling Wilburys
Vol. 1 (1988)

Soundtrack appearances

Roadie (1980) Blue Velvet (1986) Less Than Zero (1987)


A Black & White Night Live (1989)


"Tryin' to Get to You" "Ooby Dooby" "Go Go Go" "Only the Lonely" "Running Scared" "Crying" "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream)" "In Dreams" "Blue Bayou" "Pretty Paper" "It's Over" "Oh, Pretty Woman" "Memphis, Tennessee" "You Got It" "She's a Mystery to Me" "I Drove All Night"

Related articles

Discography Traveling Wilburys Roy Orbison/The Beatles Tour