Their sound engineer Bill Porter decided not to use the trusty string section and doo-wop backing singers technique, but instead tried out something new. He built the mix from the top down rather than from the bottom up, beginning with close-miked backing vocals in the foreground, and ending with the rhythm section soft in the background. The song also differed from the typical verse-chorus form structure of the time, building and falling to a climax, with emotional expression then rare for masculine performance.The recording notably featured a falsetto note hit by Orbison that showcased a surprisingly powerful voice. After the song had been released, this combination became Orbison's trademark sound.Orbison told Rolling Stone in 1988:
"I liked the sound of my voice. I liked making it sing, making the voice ring, and I just kept doing it. And I think that somewhere between the time of "Ooby Dooby" and "Only the Lonely," it kind of turned into a good voice."Released by Monument Records as a 45rpm single, the single shot to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Fun fact: When Elvis Presley heard ‘Only the Lonely’ for the first time, the song he had turned down, he bought a box of the records to give out to his friends.Bruce Springsteen referred to the song in his 1975 song 'Thunder Road,' and when inducting Orbison into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, he said:
"In '75, when I went into the studio to make Born to Run, I wanted to make a record with words like Bob Dylan that sounded like Phil Spector, but most of all I wanted to sing like Roy Orbison."Since that hit song, Roy’s singles had reached #1 twice in the British charts, and once in the USA.
‘Running Scared’ song hit #1 in USA Billboard chart on June 10, 1961.‘It’s Over’ topped the British charts in May 1964.And last but not least, ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ topped the British charts in September 1964.