Joe Melson

Induction Year: 2018

Birth Name: Joe Melson

Birth Date: 05-11-1935

Place of Birth: Bonham, Texas

Joe Melson grew up in Bonham, Texas. He began writing and singing his own songs at an early age. He spent much of his young adult years working at Standard Oil by day then playing high-school dances and local night clubs with his Rockabilly band by night.

In 1957, Joe met and began writing with a then-unknown Roy Orbison. In 1960, their song “Only The Lonely (Know The Way I Feel)” launched Orbison into superstardom. The first operatic rock ballad in history, that single was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

In 1961, the team created the smash “Crying.” It became a giant hit for Orbison, was revived as a pop hit by Jay & The Americans five years later and entered the country repertoire via versions by Ronnie Milsap and Don McLean, among many others. Orbison’s single was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2002.

In 1963, the duo’s “Blue Bayou” became another hit for Orbison (and, years later, Linda Ronstadt). Joe’s song catalgoue also includes “Blue Angel,” “Running Scared,” “Lana” and “I’m Hurtin’” (all hits for Orbison), as well as “Run Baby Run (Back Into My Arms)” by The Newbeats and the Glenn Barber singles “Unexpected Goodbye” and “I’m The Man On Susie’s Mind.”

In 2002 Joe was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

"(I Get So) Sentimental"

(written with Roy Orbison)

Bob Luman1965 
Roy Orbison1965 


(written with Roy Orbison)

Roy Orbison & Joe Melson2014 

"Blue Angel"

(written with Roy Orbison)

Roy Orbison1960 #9 pop, #23 r&b, #11 UK

"Blue Bayou"

(written with Roy Orbison)

Roy Orbison1963 #29 pop, #26 r&b, #3 UK
Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass1971 
Lynn Anderson1971 
Linda Ronstadt1977 #2 country, #3 adult contemporary, #3 pop, #35 UK
Wayne Newton1978 
Ed Bruce1982 
The Cox Family1985 
Billy Jo Spears1986 
Raul Malo2004 
Norah Jones2008 
Harry Dean Stanton2014 

"Come Back To Me (My Love)"

(written with Roy Orbison)

Roy Orbison1960 

"Cry Softly Lonely One"

(written with Don Gant)

Roy Orbison1967 #52 pop


(written with Roy Orbison)

2002 Song Inductee into the Grammy Hall of Fame / Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs #69

Roy Orbison1961 #2 pop, #25 UK
Bobby Vinton1962 
Del Shannon1964 
The Lettermen1964 
Waylon Jennings1964 
Jay & The Americans1966 #25 pop
Glen Campbell1967 
Dottie West1968 
Lynn Anderson1968 
B.J. Thomas1975 
Ronnie Milsap1976 #79 country
Don McLean1980 #2 adult contemporary, #5 pop, #6 country, #1 UK
Roy Orbison & k.d. lang1987 #28 adult contemporary, #42 country
Pat Benatar1999 
Deana Carter2007 
Clay Aiken2009 

"Ever Changing Mind"

(written with Susie Melson)

Don Gibson1969 #30 country

"I'm Hurtin'"

(written with Roy Orbison)

Roy Orbison1961 #27 pop

"I'm In A Blue, Blue Mood"

(written with Roy Orbison)

Conway Twitty1962 
Roy Orbison1965 

"I'm The Man On Susie's Mind"

(written with Glenn Barber)

Glenn Barber1972 #28 country
Roy Orbison1973 


The Velvets1961 
Roy Orbison1966 #15 UK

"Lookin' For Love"

(written with Roy Orbison)

Bobby Vee & the Crickets1962 
The Newbeats1965 
Roy Orbison2014 

"Love Songs Just For You"

(written with Marsha Barber)

Glenn Barber1979 #27 country

"Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel)"

(written with Roy Orbison)

1999 Song Inductee into the Grammy Hall of Fame / Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Songs #232

Roy Orbison1960 #2 pop, #14 r&b, #1 UK
Kitty Wells1966 
Floyd Cramer1969 
Jack Greene1969 
Sonny James1969 #1 country, #32 adult contemporary
Glen Campbell1973 
Chris Isaak1996 

"Run Baby Run (Back Into My Arms)"

(written with Don Gant)

The Newbeats1965 #12 pop, #10 UK
Roy Orbison1973 

"Running Scared"

(written with Roy Orbison)

Roy Orbison1961 #1 pop, #9 UK
Del Shannon1965 
The Lettermen1965 
Glen Campbell1972 
Jeff Lynne2012 

"The Crowd"

(written with Roy Orbison)

Roy Orbison1962 #26 pop, #40 UK
Waylon Jennings1968 

"Unexpected Goodbye"

(written with Glenn Barber)

Glenn Barber1972 #23 country

"We’ve Got Some Feeling To Do"

(written with Milton Calvin Blackford)

Del Reeves & Billie Jo Spears1976 

Joe Melson

Induction Year: 2018