Traveling Wilburys

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Traveling Wilburys
A guitar signed by each member
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, US
Years active1988 (1988)–1991 (1991)
Past member(s)

The Traveling Wilburys were a British–American rock supergroup. It was a group of five singers who came together to make two albums, groups of songs sold together. The Traveling Wilburys were Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynne. They made two albums: The Traveling Wilburys: Volume 1 and The Traveling Wilburys: Volume 3. Rolling Stone said Volume 1 was one of the 100 best albums of all time.[2]

Beginning[change | change source]

The Traveling Wilburys started in 1988. The international department at Warner Brothers Records asked George Harrison to write a B-side song for his single, This Is Love. In vinyl records, there is one song (or group of songs) on the top of the disc, and then the user can pick the disc up, turn it over, and have the record player play music on the bottom of the disc. The top is called the A side and the bottom is called the B side. In the late 1980s, most record companies sold single records with a famous song on the A side and a new song on the B side. Harrison wrote Handle with Care to be the B-side for This Is Love. Because some of Harrison's friends were there keeping him company, they decided to sing Handle with Care together. The record company decided Handle with Care was too good a song to be a B-side, so they asked the men if they would make a whole album.[2]

They did some of the recording in Bob Dylan's own studio in his outbuilding for his car. They did some of the work in Dave Stewart's kitchen. Stewart was in the band the Eurythmics.[3]

Name[change | change source]

The name "Traveling Wilburys" comes from "We'll bury." When he was recording his album Cloud Nine, Harrison noticed some errors in the recording and said "Well bury them in the mix."[4] At first the band was the Trembling Wilburys but they changed it to the Traveling Wilburys.[2]

The musicians used pretend names for the album: George Harrison was "Nelson Wilbury," Bob Dylan was "Lucky Wilbury," Roy Orbison was "Lefty Wilbury," Tom Petty was "Charlie T. Jr.," and Jeff Lynne was "Otis Wilbury." This was meant as a joke and not to trick anyone. The Wilburys were five fictional brothers who all had the same father, Charlie T. Wilbury Sr., but different mothers.[5]

Inside the paper around the album, there was also a pretend history of the Wilburys: "The original Wilburys were a stationary people who, realizing that their civilization could not stand still for ever, began to go for short walks – not the ‘traveling’ as we now know it, but certainly as far as the corner and back."[5]

Songs[change | change source]

The Traveling Wilburys' first album, Traveling Wilburys: Volume 1 was released in 1988. It reached #3 on Billboard's list of very good albums and sold enough copies for triple platinum.[3][5]

  • Handle with Care
  • Dirty World
  • Rattled
  • Last Night
  • Not Alone Any More
  • Congratulations
  • Heading for the Light
  • Margarita
  • Tweeter and the Monkey Man
  • End of the Line

The song Tweeter and the Monkey Man was written to make fun of the kinds of songs written by Bruce Springsteen up to that point.[3][5]

The Traveling Wilburys' second album, Traveling Wilburys: Volume 3 was released in 1990. Its title is not a mistake. Harrison skipped the number 2 on purpose.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Melissa Ursula Dawn Goldsmith (22 November 2019). Listen to Classic Rock! Exploring a Musical Genre. ABC-CLIO. p. 180. ISBN 978-1-4408-6579-4.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mo Ostin. "History". The Traveling Wilburys. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Thomas Kintner (July 4, 2020). "'Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1': Just Your Basic Dylan-Petty-Harrison-Orbison-Lynne Supergroup". Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  4. "Music". The Traveling Wilburys. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 David Wild (October 18, 1988). "Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 14, 2020.