During a recent appearance on the Appetite for Destruction Podcast, Roy Orbison Jr., the musician son of Roy Orbison, said that many classic rock songs are “derivatives” of his father’s staple 1964 track “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
He reached the topic while discussing a top list of greatest songs by one of the prominent guitar magazines (transcribed by UG):
“I look at the list, Number 1 is ‘Satisfaction’ by The Rolling Stones. I was like, ‘Oh, sorry, that’s Roy.’ Number 2, ‘Day Tripper.’ No, sorry, guess again. That’s ‘Pretty Woman.’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ – well, that’s coming from there.
“Rolling Stones, they… they wrote no songs. This is funny for people. ‘They’re the greatest songwriters.’ Yeah, but from what I’m talking about, up to today, they wrote no songs.
“They had a couple of Chuck Berry covers, they had some Buddy Holly covers, they had ‘Under My Thumb’… They had one good song, ‘Time is On My Side,’ and they didn’t write that.
“So they wrote zero songs, they go on tour with Roy Orbison – this would be ’64 – and on the way back from flying… They were in Australia on tour. They stopped in LA for a couple of days.
“They record one song. This song [‘Satisfaction’], Keith Richards – and I believe him, everyone has their own way of looking at it – he said he dreamt it. And I don’t argue. You know, Johnny Cash said something and someone else says, ‘No, no.’ I believe Johnny Cash. I believe Keith Richards, I believe the first-hand accounts. And I know he’s telling the truth on that.
“What, he just comes from a three-week tour where he heard the song with an 8-note figure in E. *sings ‘Pretty Woman’ melody* It begins with two notes… And he just went half the riff and back down… *sings ‘Satisfaction’ riff*
“Even the bridge is very similar, pretty much ‘Pretty woman walking down the street, Pretty woman, the kind I like to meet.’ ‘I can’t get no Satisfaction, I can’t get no girl reaction.’ You gotta do a little homework, but it’s there.