The Very Best Of Roy Orbison, four LP box set on Monument Records label, 2013, value £60

WHEN I first began to write this column I often remarked that compilations of greatest hits were of little value, writes MICHAEL BROOKS. I now find that I am having to eat my words as so many record collectors are delving into back catalogues searching to find the best songs of a particular artist. Record companies are reissuing and packaging the best recordings into lavish box sets which are rapidly rising in price. For Roy Orbison fans you will not find a better collection than this one. It contains 48 tracks featuring all his hits from the sixties.

Originally signed to Sun Records by Sam Phillips, Roy almost gave his first hit Only The Lonely to Elvis, surprisingly he turned it down so Roy decided to record it himself. It went to number two in America and number one in the UK and remains as one of the most distinctive pop songs ever recorded. And so began an illustrious career that led to almost 40 chart entries in the UK alone. For the record, in a 68 week period that began in August 1963, Roy was the only American artist to have two number one singles, It's Over and Oh, Pretty Woman making him impervious to the chart domination of British artists on both sides of the Atlantic, prompting one critic to write, "there's a difference between entertained and undergoing an emotional experience, listening to Roy singing."

Many people have wondered why he is seen wearing dark glasses as early pictures show him with clear lenses or no glasses at all. When he first flew to England to join The Beatles on a package tour, he left his regular glasses on the plane. Susceptible to bright lights, he went on stage wearing sunglasses and photographs taken of Roy with The Beatles ran in newspapers around the world. Although he didn't plan on having an image, he was stuck with one and kept it ever since.

It was personal tragedy that would torment Roy for the next few years. He saw his wife Claudette die in a motorcycle accident and two years later, a fire destroyed his home in Tennessee, killing his two boys. Throughout the seventies he continually returned and toured the UK where he was always well received despite it being a barren time for his career, although a 1976 compilation hits album topped the charts leading to several modern day stars to record some of his songs. Linda Ronstadt had a huge hit with Blue Bayou, he also won a Grammy award duetting with Emmylou Harris on That Lovin' You Feeling Again. A video A Black And White Night showed Roy performing with singers Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello and many more showcasing his talent. This high profile led him to receive an invitation from George Harrison to join The Travelling Wilburys, a great album owing much to Roy's input. The posthumously released Mystery Girl album released after his death was the most successful of his career, it showed a man feeling happy and relaxed; his voice never sounded better. He remains having the most distinctive voice in the history of popular music.