Rock "supergroup" consisting of George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, which never really lives up to the potential of its members (IMHO). They released two albums, the 1988 "Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1" (with the big hit single "Handle With Care") and the slightly less successful 1990 album "Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3" (don't ask me where Vol. 2 went) without Orbison, who had died after the release of the first album.

A Supergroup, originally formed as a joke, by Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and George Harrison.

After George Harrison's album Cloud Nine was completed, George found himself having to create a bonus track for the European release of "When We Was Fab". Since Jeff Lynne had played an important part in the creation of George's album, including appearing in the "When We Was Fab" music video (along with Ringo Starr), Jeff postponed his other projects: work on Roy Orbison's album Mystery Girl, and his work on tracks for Tom Petty.

Then, George and Roy met up and Roy offered to sing on his new track...and then Bob Dylan asked if he could lend a hand, since he was an old friend, and also had just been backed by Tom Petty. And then one thing just led to another...

The Travelling Wilburys' first album, Volume One was completed over the summer of 1988. Most of the composing took place at the house of Dylan's then producer, Dave Stewart. Nourished by a continuous flow of ideas, George's team would "assemble after breakfast at about one in the afternoon, and just sit around with acoustic guitars - then someone would have a title or a chord pattern and we'd let it roll."

The word "wilbury" had been an inside joke during Cloud Nine, referring to studio gremlins. First, 'The Trembling Wilburys' was suggested as a name when, remembered Lynne, he and George had "this fantasy idea. We'd start inventing a group that would have all our favourite people." Ultimately the vote went to Travelling.

George had the idea of them to play "Masquerading as half brothers sired by the same father - Charles Truscott Wilbury, Senior" - the five appeared under their chosen pseudonyms:

Lucky Wilbury: Bob Dylan
Otis Wilbury: Jeff Lynne
Charlie T. Jr.:Tom Petty
Lefty Wilbury: Roy Oribison
Nelson Wilbury: George Harrison

that's sort of weird, but just so you know, The Spice Girls (insert shudder here) did not come up with this idea first.

The Travelling Wilburys went on to record Volume Three, but their time was tragically cut short in December 1988 when Roy Orbison died of a heart attack.

A brief discography of the Wilburys. Songs on Volume One are listed by either their known composer or primiary vocalist:

The Travelling Wilburys, Volume One
Released October 1, 1988

1. Handle With Care--Harrison
2. Dirty World--Dylan
3. Rattled
4. Last Night--Petty
5. Not Alone Anymore--Orbison
6. Congratulations--Dylan
7. Heading For The Light--Harrison
8. Margarita
9. Tweeter and the Monkey Man--Dylan
10. End of the Line

Volume One features easily the best 1980's material of George Harrison and Bob Dylan. The songs range from almost-serious to definitely-not serious. Highlights include Harrison's "Handle With Care", Dylan and Petty's masterful Bruce Springsteen parody "Tweeter and the Monkey Man", and "Congratulations", one of Dylan's typical late-80s extremely depressing love songs. The not-serious efforts are led by Petty's amusingly failed one-night stand in "Last Night" and Dylan's "Dirty World" which was supposedly Dylan's tribute to Prince(!), and contains the only lyrical appearance of the phrase "Trembling Wilburys".

The best tracks on the record, in general, are the ones they didn't let Jeff Lynne anywhere near.

Volume Three is the inferior cousin to Volume One, generally lacking the humor of the first record, and leaning too heavily on Dylan's songwriting skills, which were not exactly at their peak. This record probably could have benefitted from more Tom Petty songs.

The Travelling Wilburys Volume Three
Released October 1, 1990

1. She's My Baby
2. Inside Out
3. If You Belonged To Me
4. The Devil's Been Busy
5. Seven Deadly Sins
6. Poor House
7. Where Were You Last Night?
8. Cool Dry Place
9. New Blue Moon
10. You Took My Breath Away
11. Wilbury Twist

Recommended tracks are Petty's "Poor House" and the "Wilbury Twist", which contains instructions such as "Lift your other foot up, fall on your ass. Get back up, put your teeth in a glass".

Incidentally, as none of the Wilburys could play drums, Jim Keltner, the Sixth Wilbury, sat behind the drums for both records.

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