Mystery Girl

Mystery Girl
Mystery Girl
Studio album by Roy Orbison
Released February 7, 1989
Recorded October - November 1988
Genre Rock
Length 38:17
Label Virgin
Producer Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell, Jeff Lynne, T-Bone Burnett, Barbara Orbison, Bono
Roy Orbison chronology
In Dreams: The Greatest Hits
Mystery Girl
A Black & White Night Live
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Chicago Tribune (Positive)[2]
Deseret News (Positive)[3]
Houston Chronicle 4/5 stars[4]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[5]
The New York Times (Favorable)[6]
Robert Christgau (B)[7]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[8]
Q 5/5 stars[citation needed]

Mystery Girl is the last album recorded by Roy Orbison, posthumously released on the Virgin label in 1989. The album became a hit worldwide, reaching #5 on the US Billboard 200, and #2 on the UK Albums Chart.[9]



All the tracks were recorded in late 1988, and it was finalized for release in the weeks following his death through the collaborative efforts of several artists who were all friends and admirers. The album was named after the chorus from the track "She's a Mystery to Me", written for Orbison by U2's Bono and The Edge.

In the documentary In Dreams: The Roy Orbison Story, Bono tells how he woke up for a concert's sound check, following a late night listening to the soundtrack to David Lynch's Blue Velvet, and had the tune in his head, figuring it was another Orbison song ("In Dreams" was the only Orbison song on that album). During the sound check he performed it for the other members of U2, who agreed that the track sounded like an Orbison song. A short while later, Orbison met the band backstage at one of their concerts and subsequently asked Bono if he would like to write a song with/for him.

The album was released posthumously in 1989 and would join another Orbison album on the Billboard chart. Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 was recorded in mid 1988 as part of the supergroup, Traveling Wilburys. The dual success means that Roy Orbison joins Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson as the only singers to simultaneously have two Top 5 albums on the Billboard chart posthumously.

Track listing

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "You Got It"   Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty Jeff Lynne 3:30
2. "In the Real World"   Richard Kerr, Will Jennings Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell, Barbara Orbison 3:44
3. "(All I Can Do Is) Dream You"   Billy Burnette, David Malloy T-Bone Burnett 3:39
4. "A Love So Beautiful"   Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne Jeff Lynne 3:33
5. "California Blue"   Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty Jeff Lynne 3:57
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
6. "She's a Mystery to Me"   Bono, The Edge Bono 4:16
7. "The Comedians"   Elvis Costello T-Bone Burnett 3:26
8. "The Only One"   Wesley Orbison, Craig Wiseman Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell 3:55
9. "Windsurfer"   Roy Orbison, Bill Dees Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell 4:01
10. "Careless Heart"   Roy Orbison, Diane Warren, Albert Hammond Roy Orbison, Mike Campbell 4:08
Bonus track (2007 reissue)
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
11. "You May Feel Me Crying"   Richard Kerr, Will Jennings Brian Eno[10] 4:14



Additional personnel


Grammy Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1990 "You Got It" Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male[11] Nominated

Chart positions

Chart positions

Chart (1989) Position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[12] 1
Austrian Albums Chart[13] 4
Dutch Mega Albums Chart[14] 1
German Media Control Albums Chart [15] 4
Japanese Oricon Albums Chart[16] 89
New Zealand Albums Chart [17] 7
Norwegian VG-lista Albums Chart[18] 1
Swedish Albums Chart[19] 1
Swiss Albums Chart[20] 3
UK Albums Chart [21] 2
United States Billboard 200[22] 5

Year-end charts

Chart (1989) Position
Australian Albums Chart[23] 9
Austrian Albums Chart[24] 29
Canadian Albums Chart[25] 8
Swiss Albums Chart[26] 26
UK Albums Chart[27] 51
U.S. Billboard Year-end[28] 42


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[29] 3× Platinum 300,000^
Germany (BVMI)[30] Gold 250,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[31] Platinum 100,000^
Sweden (IFPI Sweden)[32] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[33] Gold 25,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] Platinum 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Chart procession and succession

Preceded by
Look Sharp! by Roxette
Swedish Chart number-one album
February 8 - March 22, 1989
Succeeded by
Like a Prayer by Madonna
Preceded by
Anything for You
by Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Dutch Mega Chart number-one album
February 18, 1989
Succeeded by
Anything for You
by Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine
Preceded by
Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
by Traveling Wilburys
ARIA Charts number-one album
February 27 - March 26, 1989
Succeeded by
Hits of '89 Volume 1
by Various artists
Preceded by
Ancient Heart by Tanita Tikaram
Norwegian VG-lista number-one album
07 - 09/1989
Succeeded by
Solregn by Åge Aleksandersen


  1. ^ Iyengar, Vik. Mystery Girl at Allmusic
  2. ^ Silverman, David (1989-02-02). "Orbison`s `Mystery Girl` Is A Poignant Comeback". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  3. ^ "ON THE RECORD: LAST ALBUM BY ORBISON WAS A WINNER". Deseret News. 1989-03-10. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  4. ^ Claypool, Bob (1989-02-12). "Records". Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  5. ^ Hilburn, Robert (1989-01-29). "The Albums of Winter : Posthumous Roy Orbison release leads the pack". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  6. ^ Holden, Stephen (1997-07-08). "THE POP LIFE". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  7. ^ "CG: Roy Orbison". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  8. ^ link[dead link]
  9. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 408–409. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  10. ^ The Official Roy Orbison Site "Roy Oabison The Soul of Rock and Roll 4-CD box set features 12 unreleased songs". The Official Roy Orbison Site. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  11. ^ "HERE'S LIST OF NOMINEES FROM ALL 77 CATEGORIES". Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  12. ^ " Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  13. ^ "Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl –" (in German). Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  14. ^ " Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  15. ^ "Album Search: Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  16. ^ ロイ・オービソン-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック "Highest position and charting weeks of Mystery Girl by Roy Orbison" (in Japanese). Oricon Style. ロイ・オービソン-リリース-ORICON STYLE-ミュージック. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  17. ^ " — Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  18. ^ " Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl". VG-lista. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  19. ^ " Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  20. ^ "Roy Orbison - Mystery Girl —" (in German). Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  21. ^ "Chart Stats — Roy Orbison — Mystery Girl". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  22. ^ Allmusic - Mystery Girl > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums
  23. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 50 Albums 1989". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  24. ^ " — Jahreshitparade 1989" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  25. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1989". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  26. ^ " — Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1989" (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  27. ^ "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  28. ^ "The Billboard 200 - Year-end: 1989". Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  29. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl". Music Canada. 
  30. ^ "German album certifications – Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  31. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  32. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (in Swedish) (PDF). IFPI Sweden. 
  33. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Roy Orbison; 'Mystery Girl')". Hung Medien. 
  34. ^ "British album certifications – Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Mystery Girl in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  35. ^ "American album certifications – Roy Orbison – Mystery Girl". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

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