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The Beatles are responsible for Julia Roberts' Pretty Woman
2023/06/15

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The Beatles worked with countless musicians and bands over the years, but one occasion saw them helping out an American star to write a track that would get him worldwide renown. And this song was eventually used in an Oscar-nominated movie. During the early 1960s, while the Fab Four were on tour, they began connecting with artists from around the world. Paul McCartney recalled one instance when they were hanging out on a bus with the iconic American rockabilly star Roy Orbison.

McCartney remembered the incredible moment in his 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. He said: "We were starting to meet other musicians then and we'd start to see other people writing." (Via Cheat Sheet)

The Beatles' bus became a hub for musicians to come and go, swap ideas, and create new music together.

McCartney then explained how one of Orbison's biggest songs was brought to life on one of the band's tour buses. The musician sought solace in the back of The Beatles' tour bus and put his head down to start writing some lyrics.

"After that," McCartney wrote. "On another tour bus with Roy Orbison, we saw Roy sitting in the back of the bus, writing Pretty Woman."

Pretty Woman became one of Orbison's best-known songs of all time. Not only did it sell more than 7 million copies worldwide upon release, but it hit the number one spot in countries around the world, including the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.

Pretty Woman was also used as the main theme and title for the 1990 Richard Gere and Julia Roberts movie. The music has since been translated to the stage for the Broadway show, Pretty Woman: The Musical.

McCartney looked back on working with Orbison during those days, saying: "It was lovely. We could trade off with each other. This was our real start."

However, Orbison's co-writer, Bill Dees, told a different story about how Pretty Woman was

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In 2011 Dees said Orbison's wife, Claudette, was the inspiration behind the track when she asked Orbison for some money to go shopping.

He said: "Then they walked off about 15 or 20 foot and it was all kissy-kissy whispering and, when he came back to the table, I was standing up with a guitar and I sang: 'Pretty woman … don't need no money' and then he sang: 'Pretty woman … walking down the street.'"

"After that," Dees went on. "We both chipped in and within an hour and a half — before she got back to the house — we had it written."

Orbison later went on to write a song for Elvis Presley, as well, as he couldn't get it in front of him in good time.

Orbison wrote the song Only the Lonely specifically for the King of Rock and Roll, but when he approached the star's boss, Colonel Tom Parker, to pitch it to him, he didn't want anything to do with it.

After Elvis' boss turned the track down, Orbison turned to The Everly Brothers, who also declined the track.

Eventually, the star released the song for himself and reached number one in the UK.

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