Springsteen on Roy Orbison is too great:
Then into my thirteen–year–old ears came 60’s pop. Roy Orbison, besides Johnny Cash, he was the other Man in Black. He was the true master of the romantic apocalypse you dreaded, and knew was coming after the first night you whispered, I love you, to your new girlfriend. You were going down. Roy was the coolest, uncool loser you’d ever seen. With his Coke bottle black glasses, his three–octave range, he seemed to take joy sticking his knife deep into the hot belly of your teenage insecurities.
Simply the titles, “Crying,” “It’s Over,” “Running Scared.” That’s right, the paranoia, oh, the paranoia. He sang about the tragic unknowability of women. He was tortured by soft skin, angora sweaters, beauty, and death – just like you. But he also sang that he’d been risen to the heights of near unexpressable bliss by these same very things that tortured him. Oh, cruel irony.
And for those few moments, he told you that the wreckage, and the ruin, and the heartbreak was all worth it. I got it, my young songwriters, wisdom said to me: Life is tragedy, broken by moments of unworldly bliss that make that tragedy bearable. I was half right. That wasn’t life, that was pop music.