Elvis Presley and another major artist turned down a chart-topping song

Elvis Presley stars in trailer for Double Trouble in 1967

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In 1960 Elvis Presley was on the market for some new material. The King of Rock and Roll licensed songs from writers throughout his entire career, before giving them his own spin and releasing them as singles or on albums. In early 1960 Elvis was approached by Roy Orbison about a new song.

At the time Roy was a well-known rockabilly singer who has since been placed in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In March 1960 Roy had written an exciting track for release titled Only The Lonely.

The emotional track would no doubt have been a perfect fit for Elvis, but the King was not happy with it.

Much to Roy’s dismay, Elvis turned the song down, leaving the star no choice but to offer it to another artist.

With Elvis out of the picture, Roy offered it to The Everly Brothers.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/kjq4wYuwgxs

Roy was, once again, unlucky on this venture. The Everly Brothers – who had shot to fame after their 1957 single Bye Bye Love – also politely declined the rocker’s song.

After the two biggest music acts in America had turned Roy’s song down, he decided to release it himself.

Roy released Only The Lonely on May 9, 1960.

Months later, on this day, October 20, in 1960 the song reached number one in the UK.

Only The Lonely sold more than half a million copies in the US by the end of the year.

Although Elvis turned down Roy’s song, he never stopped admiring the King of Rock and Roll.

Years later Roy said of the star: “His energy was incredible, his instinct was just amazing.

“I just didn’t know what to make of it. There was just no reference point in the culture to compare it.”

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Roy was also the only person in history to open a show for both Elvis and The Beatles.

In fact, the American star later co-founded a rock supergroup in 1988 called the Traveling Wilburys.

This band was comprised of Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and George Harrison.

Roy certainly didn’t rely on the might of these other stars to be successful, however.

He released some incredible top 10 hits including Only The Lonely, Running Scared, Crying and Oh, Pretty Woman.

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