It was an offer Paul Hopkins could not refuse.
He was performing on a cruise liner when a passenger told him he sounded just like Roy Orbison.
“The guy said, sing a couple of Roy’s songs and I’ll buy you a drink,” explained Paul.
“Afterwards, as I enjoyed my drink, it struck me that this was something I could do, perform as the legendary singer otherwise known as The Big O.”
That was 20 years ago and now Paul is about to bring his amazing performance to Reading’s Hexagon Theatre this Friday along with the famous Travelling Wilburys.
It was in 1988 that former Beatle, George Harrison got together with Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lyne and Roy Orbison which was a huge hit.
Sadly, The Big O died shortly after and the band never toured.
But fans of the unique sound they created can enjoy the music from five legendary performers with hits and classics including Handle with Care, End of the Line, Wilbury Twist, Heading for the Light, Tweeter and the Monkey Man, Nobody’s Child, Last Night and many more.
In addition, the band also perform songs that made each member part of the history of rock and roll, such as Mr Blue Sky, Pretty Woman, Blowin’ in the Wind, Here Comes The Sun, Runnin’ Down a Dream, Sweet Talkin’ Woman, Only the Lonely and The Mighty Quinn.
“Our audiences are a mix of people in their 50s who remember all these performers as solo artists as well as part of the Wilburys,” said Paul.
“But there are also younger people whose parents played the music and they have got to love it too.
“I love performing as Roy and consider it a great honour. He was such an enigma with a voice like no one else. He was a private man and never really joked around or talked with his audiences.
“He’d really just stand on stage and sing without any big band or dozens of dancers with him. He had such personality he didn’t need it.”
Audiences around the world have thrilled to The Big O & the Wilburys show. The variety of music is hard to beat and the performances from each member are spot on.
“You can hear a pin drop during songs like Blowin’ in the Wind,” added Paul.
“We do have a bit of banter with the audience which is great. We’ve not played the Hexagon yet and are really looking forward to it.”
The show is at The Hexagon tomorrow (Friday, July 27) at 7.30pm. For tickets go to www.readingarts.com/hexagon or call: 0118 960 6060.