"What I'd really like to do next is... to do an album with me and some of my mates... a few tunes, you know. Maybe The Traveling Wilburys... it's this new group I got: it's called the Traveling Wilburys, I'd like to do an album with them and later we can all do our own albums again."-George Harrison
George had figured he'd go to a studio and record a song, good friend of George's and one of the most influential musicians of all time, Bob Dylan, had a studio. George and Jeff called Bob up asking if they could use his studio, Bob allowed it and it was just the three of them; Harrison, Lynne, and Dylan. Jeff at the time was working with the legendary musician, Roy Orbison, who Jeff had mentioned his record he was making with George and Roy wanted to help. It was during one night that George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan, were eating together in Bob's home studio in Malibu, California. Now it was the four of them, George, Jeff, Bob, and Roy who immediately went to start working, but George had forgotten his guitar at a friends house, it was then the young heart-breaker, Tom Petty had joined the group. George had left to get his guitar at Tom's house and returned to Bob's studio accompanied by Tom Petty.
"...and so I just thought I'll just go into the studio tomorrow and do one, and it happened that Jeff was working with Roy and Roy wanted to come. My guitar was at Tom's house for some reason and I had to go round and get it. And the only studio that we could find available was Bob's. So we thought, Bobs got one, we'll just call him up."
The group worked a few days on a song, getting it right. It was one of those situation that you had five brilliant musicians in a room and a line would be tossed out, written down on a piece of paper until the song was complete. Someone had asked, "What are we going to call it?", George had looked at a packaging box that read "Handle With Care". Thus, George's B-Side was born. But, it wasn't a song based for George's vocals, and George didn't want it to be,
"So everybody was there and I thought I'm not gonna just sing it myself, I've got Roy Orbison standing there. I'm gonna write a bit for Roy to sing. And Then as it progressed then I started doing the vocals and I just thought I might as well push it a bit and get Tom and Bob to sing the bridge."-George Harrison on writing "Handle With Care"
The name Traveling Wilbury's came from a joke between George and Jeff who called the studio equipment "wilburys". The original name for the group was The Trembling Wilbury's , it was Jeff who suggested "Traveling". The group went on to record The Traveling Wilburys Volume I, but not under their own names. The Traveling Wilburys had became brothers, George becoming Nelson Wilbury, Jeff being Otis, Roy becoming Lefty, Bob had taken on the persona as Lucky, and Tom, being the youngest became Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. The group used drummer Jim Keltner on their songs. The Following video is "The True Story of The Traveling Wilburys":"A couple of days later George came by my office to play the new 'B-side.' We went next door to A&R head Lenny Waronker's office so he could hear it too. George played us 'Handle With Care.' Our reaction was immediate. This was a song we knew could not be wasted on some B-side. Roy Orbison's vocal was tremendous. I really loved the beautiful guitar figure that George played. The guys had really nailed it. Lenny and I stumbled over each others' words, asking, 'Can't we somehow turn this into an album?' (I also had a suspicion that perhaps George had been hungering for another band experience.)" -Mo Ostin of Warner Bros. Records
Traveling Wilburys Volume I track list:
- Handle with Care
- Dirty World
- Last Night
- Not Alone Anymore
- Heading for the Light
- Tweeter and The Monkey Man
- End Of The Line
The album was released on 18 October, 1988 and went to number three in The Billboard 200 charts. Singles like End Of The Line, peaked number 28 in Adult Contemporary charts, 2 in Mainstream Rock, 63 in The Billboard Hot 100. Handle with Care reached 2 in Mainstream Rock, 45 in The Billboard Hot 100. Heading For The Light peaked at number 7 in Mainstream Rock charts. Last Night reached 5 in Mainstream Rock. The album also was awarded Grammy Award for Best Rock Preformance by Duo or Group with Vocal.
6 December 1988 the world wept at the passing of the legacy of the beautiful man, Roy Orbison who had passed away of a heart attack. He was remembered in the Traveling Wilbury's video for "End Of The Line", where they're on a steam engine train, during Lefty's refrain the video focuses on a rocking chair holding his guitar and a picture of Orbison standing next to it. Roy will be remembered as a true music inspiration, but not only as that but as a friend to many and for those who knew him as an overall great guy, there's really no words good enough to describe him.
"All I can really say about him is, you know, we loved him. We told him, fortunately, at any given opportunity, you know any time we had we always told him we loved him. We always hugged him. And said, 'Roy, you're so great.' I once said to him, 'Roy, you're probably the greatest singer in the world.' and he said '...probably.'"-Tom PettyThe following video is the Traveling Wilbury's "End Of The Line":