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Pretty Woman

"Oh, Pretty Woman" is a song which was a worldwide hit for Roy Orbison. Recorded on the Monument Records label in Nashville, Tennessee, it was written by Roy Orbison and Bill Dees. In 1964 the song sold more records in its first ten days in release than any other single in history.

The lyrics tell how the singer watches a pretty woman walk by. He yearns for her, and wonders if, as beautiful as she is, she might be lonely like he is. At the last minute, she turns back and joins him. The song was covered very closely by the group, Van Halen in 1982. It was covered in ska style in 1986 by the Holy Sisters of the Gaga Dada.

In 1989, the controversial 2 Live Crew recorded a parody of the Orbison song, using the alternate title "Pretty Woman" for their album Clean as They Wanna Be. The Crew sampled the distinctive bass line from the Orbison song, but the romantic lyrics were replaced by talk about a hairy woman and her bald-headed friend and their appeal to the singer.

Orbison's publisher, Acuff-Rose Music Inc sued 2 Live Crew on the basis that the fair use doctrine did not permit reuse of their copyrighted material for profit. The case, Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The lyrics of both songs are reproduced below as they are found in the Supreme Court analysis of the use of parody as fair use in a commercial context.

The Supreme Court decided in 2 Live Crew's favor, greatly expanding the doctrine of fair use and extending its protections to parodies created for profit. It is considered a seminal fair use decision.

The original Orbison song, "Oh Pretty Woman", was also used for a film called Pretty Woman starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts (1990). The film had to license the song from Orbison, but since titles cannot be copyrighted, neither Orbison nor 2 Live Crew had any claim on the title of the film. Oddly enough, observers noted that the film's poster could become involved in another sampling issue. Since Julia Roberts' head is superimposed on an anonymous model's body, the model has the right to demand a release for reproduction along with Roberts, and Richard Gere, who is also shown.

NOTICE: The lyrics reproduced below are as they were published as an appendix to the reasons of Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music by the Supreme Court of the United States and are only being posted here for research and study of the concepts of fair use and parody an evolving area of copyright law. It is claimed that such posting is in itself fair use as are various photographs and images found on Wikipedia (an educational resource) and has not been created for any commercial purpose.

Table of contents
1 "Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison and William Dees
2 "Pretty Woman" as Recorded by 2 Live Crew
3 External Links

"Oh, Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison and William Dees

From Appendix A of rendered opinion in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Supreme Court of the United States (1994) Original text © Acuff-Rose Music Inc.

Pretty Woman, the kind I like to meet,
Pretty Woman, I don't believe you,
you're not the truth,
No one could look as good as you

Pretty Woman, won't you pardon me,
Pretty Woman, I couldn't help but see,
Pretty Woman, that you look lovely as can be
Are you lonely just like me?

Pretty Woman, stop a while,
Pretty Woman, talk a while,
Pretty Woman give your smile to me
Pretty woman, yeah, yeah, yeah

Pretty Woman, look my way,
Pretty Woman, say you'll stay with me
`Cause I need you, I'll treat you right
Come to me baby, Be mine tonight

Pretty Woman, don't walk on by,
Pretty Woman, don't make me cry,
Pretty Woman, don't walk away,
Hey, O. K.

If that's the way it must be, O. K.
I guess I'll go on home, it's late
There'll be tomorrow night, but wait!
What do I see

Is she walking back to me?
Yeah, she's walking back to me!
Oh, Pretty Woman.

"Pretty Woman" as Recorded by 2 Live Crew

From Appendix B of rendered opinion in Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music,Supreme Court of the United States (1994) Original text ©

Pretty woman walkin' down the street
Pretty woman girl you look so sweet
Pretty woman you bring me down to that knee
Pretty woman you make me wanna beg please
Oh, pretty woman

Big hairy woman you need to shave that stuff
Big hairy woman you know I bet it's tough
Big hairy woman all that hair it ain't legit
`Cause you look like `Cousin It'

Big hairy woman
Bald headed woman girl your hair won't grow
Bald headed woman you got a teeny weeny afro
Bald headed woman you know your hair could look nice

Bald headed woman first you got to roll it with rice
Bald headed woman here, let me get this hunk of biz for ya
Ya know what I'm saying you look better than rice a roni
Oh bald headed woman

Big hairy woman come on in
And don't forget your bald headed friend
Hey pretty woman let the boys
Jump in

Two timin' woman girl you know you ain't right
Two timin' woman you's out with my boy last night
Two timin' woman that takes a load off my mind
Two timin' woman now I know the baby ain't mine

Oh, two timin' woman
Oh pretty woman

External Links