From driving a lorry to uncanny ‘Big O’ tribute act

Roy Orbison tribute act Barry Steele
Roy Orbison tribute act Barry Steele

Standing up to sing a Robbie Williams song in a club on a Cornish holiday was a career-changing moment for ASDA lorry driver Barry Steele.

“Someone said I sounded just like Roy Orbison and from that moment on my wife Lynne and I pursued the idea of doing a show,” Barry, 54, recalls.

Today they put on productions of Roy Orbison and Friends in more than 90 venues across the country. They’re the only people authorised by the late Barbara Orbison and Orbison Enterprises to sell official merchandise – and they’ll be back at Dunstable’s Grove Theatre at 7.30pm on Saturday, November 29.

West Midlands-based Barry says: “It must be our fourth or fifth visit and I love Dunstable, it’s electric.

“The Grove is such a nice venue and the audiences are wonderful, they make playing there such a pleasure.”

He still finds it uncanny how his life has changed course in the past 10 years and says several people with spiritualist leanings have told him: “Roy is with you.”

Barry claims to be open-minded but adds: “So many things have happened it does make you wonder.

“In the first few years when I was up on stage it didn’t feel like me singing, it was quite strange.

“Sometimes I’d forget the lines of a song and start to panic. But I’d open my mouth and the words would come out.

“I don’t feel like that any more. It’s like Roy is saying ‘You’re strong enough to do it on your own now.’”

His Big O favourites include California Blue, Leah and She’s a Mystery to Me.

> Tickets from 01582 602080.