Appearing as it did just a few months before Roy Orbison's death, this single CD best-of was incredibly fortuitous for Rhino Records. It was the first compilation to include both Orbison's early successes on Sun Records along with his early-'60s hits for Monument Records and, thus, was as definitive as most casual fans needed it to be. The sound is impeccable, as is the choice of material (which was not difficult to assemble). One gets only a somewhat sketchy overview of Orbison's developing talent, ignoring the years between his Sun and Monument recordings, but that's usually the purpose of a greatest-hits collection anyway. For those who want more, The Legendary Roy Orbison gives a better overall account, but as a four-CD set is a lot more expensive; All-Time Greatest Hits gives a somewhat fuller account of the Monument years (and all of his Monument albums were available individually as well); and the out-of-print MGM best-of covers the music from the years following his departure from Monument. (The best of the latter doesn't sound that different from the Monument material -- Orbison's post-Monument songs just never caught the public's ear or managed to become hit records.) But For the Lonely is the best account of the music that everyone already recognizes and knows.
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AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder