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Was Roy Orbison really blind? Please provide a source so that I can prove whether or not he was really blind.

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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No, Roy Orbison wasn't blind. This is just another one of those many urban myths about rock stars that have accrued over the years. (Type "Keith Richards blood transfusion" into Google and you'll soon see another one).

Many people think "The Big O" was blind because of his penchant for wearing dark glasses. Yet this was nothing more than a fashion statement. Although initially, Orbison only started wearing dark glasses by accident. While touring with The Beatles in the U.K. he left his regular pair of glasses behind on the plane just before the tour was about to start. The only pair he had with him was the pair of dark glasses that soon became his trademark.

Although Orbison wasn't blind, his eyesight wasn't great and so he had no choice but to stick with the shades. But after a short while they became an important part of his image, along with his otherworldly vocal style and remarkable lack of mobility when performing.

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meeee | Student

he was blind because the only way he could make is music was the vibrations from his piano.

isaxgrl | Student

The website above puports to show video of Mr. Orbison without glasses. This website ( states:

"2. Roy Orbison was blind.

The singer's odd, pasty look and huge dark glasses led many to speculate, then and now, that Roy Orbison was blind. His trademark shades never left him, but they were no stranger (or stronger) than Grandma's reading glasses.

Roy did have eyeglasses to correct his vision, but they were quite normal; en route to an Alabama concert, however, he accidentally left them on the plane. The only other pair he had were prescription sunglasses, so he wore those instead. The very next day Roy was scheduled to open up a European Beatles tour, and there was no time to go find his old pair, so the dark shades stayed on him throughout the tour. The resultant frenzy of Beatlemania ensured that the singer would be seen throughout the world in that pair; by the time he returned home, it was a trademark. Proof that Roy wasn't blind can be found in the early television performance footage that shows him wearing no glasses at all. "