Roy Orbison

It's Over

Composed by Bill Dees / Roy Orbison

Song Review by

For about four years starting with 1960's "Only the Lonely," fans that bothered to be self-conscious enough about it must have wondered whether and how Roy Orbison could manage to possibly keep outdoing himself in the pop/rock melodrama sweepstakes. He usually managed to do so, with 1964's Top Ten hit "It's Over" being arguably his last true classic in that style, as well as perhaps the most over-the-top in its statement of customary Orbison themes: heartbreak and loss that built until the agony was unbearable. Thematically and structurally, "It's Over" bears some similarity to a prior Orbison hit, "Running Scared," though the melody is entirely different. The similarities are that, like "Running Scared," "It's Over" builds from a whisper to a scream, and also has a bolero-like beat in the verses. "It's Over" is more downbeat than "Running Scared," though, and in fact more downbeat than most romantic pop songs, quite a feat given how many millions of tunes compete for that slot. There's nothing but Roy, a guitar, and his gentle voice at the very beginning, but the orchestral crush of despair and angelic backup choir vocals pour on over the course of the song. The tone gets more despondent in the bridge, where the beats slow dramatically and Orbison operatically poses the question "what will you do?" when she tells you it's through. He doesn't answer the question in the song, and you fear to ask for the answer, given that his despair is so evident that the only obvious response is that he'll commit suicide. But the torture isn't over yet; after an explosive chorus, the orchestration largely drops out at the beginning of a return to another verse. The imagery here gets especially black for a pop song, Orbison warning that you won't see rainbows anymore, the crescendo of instruments and voices building yet again for another particularly belting chorus. The instruments come to a dead stop after one of Orbison's "it's over" phrases. But it's not over; he goes to a yet higher key and sings it again to really rub it in, after which the orchestra adds a couple of downbeat, muted bars, like a man who has come to the end of his rope.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Crying 1962 Sony Music Entertainment 2:48
In Dreams: Greatest Hits 1963 Legacy / Sony Legacy 2:52
Oh Pretty Woman 1964 London
No Image 1966 2:47
The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison, Vols. 1-2 1976 Monument Records 2:50
The All-Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison, Vol. 1 1978 Monument Records 2:48
Golden Days 1981 Sony BMG
In Dreams: The Greatest Hits 1987 Orbison Records 2:52
No Image 1988 Sony BMG 2:49
Black & White Night 1989 Legacy / Sony Legacy
Only the Lonely 1989 Lt Series 2:33
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Roy Orbison 1960-1965 1991 2:48
Love Songs [Sound Solutions] 1992 Sony Music Distribution
No Image 1993 GSC
Love Hurts [Castle] 1994
Various Artists
Warner Bros.
Super Hits 1995 Legacy 2:47
In Concert 1996 X5 Music Group 2:33
Oh! Pretty Woman: Greatest Hits 1996 Remember Records 2:33
Gold Collection 1996 TriStar Music 2:46
Ultimate Collection 1996 Sony Music Distribution
Very Best of Roy Orbison [Virgin 1996] 1996 Virgin
Live, Vol. 2 1997 Public Music 2:35
The All Time Greatest Hits of Roy Orbison [DCC] 1997 Monument Records 2:49
Combo Concert: 1965 Holland 1998 Orbison Records 2:46
Live 1998 Mastertone 2:42
Oh Pretty Woman: The Greatest Hits 1998 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:46
16 Biggest Hits 1999 Legacy / Monument Records / Sony Legacy 2:48
After the Love Has Gone 1999
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Anthology 1999 Eagle Records / Orbison Records 2:52
Roy Orbison: Authorized Bootleg Collection 1999 Orbison Records 2:34
In Dreams [Video] 1999 White Star
The Great Roy Orbison, Vol. 1: Original Hits 2000 Platinum Disc 2:48
Roy, Gene & Dion 2000 WEA International 2:49
20 Golden Hits 2000 Teevee Records 2:48
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:47
The Great Roy Orbison: Original Hits 2000 Platinum Disc 2:48
It's Over 2001 Golden Stars 2:33
Live at Austin City Limits 2001 Orbison Records 3:03
Gold 2001 Essential Collection (Netherlands) 2:53
The Big O: The Original Singles Collection 2001 Monument Records 2:48
Orbison 2001 Bear Family Records 2:51
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Telstar TV Records 2:48
Live in Alabama 2001 Eagle Records 2:42
The Legends Collection: The Roy Orbison Collection 2001 Legends Collection 3:02
Roy Orbison Collection, Vol. 1 2001 Dressed To Kill 3:02
Monumental Hits [Collectables] 2002 Collectables 2:48
50 All Time Greatest Hits 2002 Collectables 2:48
Big Hits from the Big "O" 2002 Balboa Recording Corporation 2:53
Only the Lonely [Digimode] 2002 Digimode Entertainment 2:33
The Best of Roy Orbison [EMI] 2003 CEMA Special Markets / EMI-Capitol Special Markets 2:53
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Oh Pretty Woman/I Like Love 2003 Dynamic 2:35
Most Famous Hits: The Album [CD 2] 2003 Surpr!se 3:02
Oh Pretty Woman [Goldies Box Set] 2004 Goldies 2:33
Most Famous Hits: The Album 2004 Surpr!se 3:02
Sweets for Sweden: The Very Best of Roy Orbison 2004 Virgin 3:13
In Dreams: Live 2004 Castle Pulse 2:39
Platinum Collection 2004 Virgin 2:54
No Image 2004 Sony Music Distribution 2:50
Hits! Hits! Hits! 2004 Orbison Records 2:51
Live from Australia [DVD] 2005 Image Entertainment
Love Hurts [Crimson] 2005
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:51
Break Up Songs 2005
Various Artists
Virgin 2:47
Only The Lonely/Ooby Dooby/Go! Go! Go! 2005 Digimode Entertainment / Musicpro 2:33
Greatest Love Songs of the 60's 2005
Various Artists
Marks & Spencer 2:47
Only the Lonely 2006 Falcon
The Essential Roy Orbison 2006 Sony Music Entertainment
Collection [Brilliant] 2006 Brilliant / Joan 2:34
In Dreams: The Greatest Hits [Musical Memories] 2006 Musical Memories
The Very Best of Roy Orbison [Sony/BMG Australia] 2006 Legacy / Sony BMG / Sony Music 2:48
Absolute Legends 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:50
Love Hurts 2007 Sony Music / Sony Music Distribution
Black & White Night/Crying 2007 BMG 3:09
The Legend Lives On 2007 Immortal
100 Hits: No 1's 2008
Various Artists
100 Hits
Playlist: The Very Best of Roy Orbison 2008 BMG / BMG / Sony Music
Presenting...Roy Orbison 2008 Sony BMG
Music Ages 2008 Music Ages / Proper 2:45
No Image 2008 Legacy / Sony Legacy / Sony Music 3:09
Purely Roy Orbison 2008 Impact 2:52
The Last Concert: December 4th, 1988 2010 Legacy / Sony Legacy 3:28
The Monument Singles: A-Sides (1960-1964) 2011 Monument Records / Sony Music Distribution
The Real... 2015 Sony Music 2:46
No Image 2016 Legacy / Sony Music 2:48
No Image
Various Artists
Forever Classic Hits 2:45
All Time Greatest Hits Skyline 2:53
Best Loved/Golden/Super Sony Music Distribution
Definitive Collection [2 Disc] Phantom
Dreamboats & Miniskirts: Those Were the Days
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:47
Dreamboats & Miniskirts: Young and in Love
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:46
Dreamboats & Petticoats: Dream Lovers
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:47
Dreamboats and Petticoats, Vol. 3
Various Artists
Universal 2:46
No Image Orbison Records 2:35
Orbison Over England: The Eighties March 25 1980 the Fiesta Club Stockton Pilot / Pilot 2:33
Orbison Over England: The Seventies October 18 1975 the Queens Theatre Pilot 3:43
Orbison Over England: The Sixties May 9th 1969 Batley Variety Club Pilot / Pilot 2:54
Pretty Woman: The Best of Roy Orbison [Columbia] Columbia
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