The late 1980’s saw the birth of one of the most famous and memorable supergroups of all time, The Traveling Wilburys. Featuring five individual icons in their own right, this formidable team created an album that completely rocked the music industry and sold over five million copies worldwide.There are a couple of theories as to how the Wilburys were actually formed. However the best way to describe it is in the actual words of George Harrison. Featured below you will find a series of quotes from George on the day the magic happened. We can then start to paint a picture of the “happy accident” that became The Traveling Wilburys.
Handle With Care was released in October 1988, originally intended as a bonus track on a single by George Harrison. When he and Jeff Lynne presented the song to Harrison's record company, featuring the vocals of all five legends, they decided it was too good for that and so The Wilburys were encouraged to produce a full album.
Due to the fact that Handle With Care, had only taken one day to write, George decided that they could finish the recordings of a whole album in a pretty short time. The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 reached No. 3 in the US, selling two million copies there within six months. The album also reached No. 16 in the UK. With over 50 weeks in the US charts the album was later certified triple-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Below are a selection of short quotes from George Harrison on how the band came together and history was made.
“I had dinner with Roy Orbison & Jeff, and said to Jeff, ‘look I am just going to go into the studio tomorrow and make up a tune if you wanna come and help’. He said: Sure”
“Roy Orbison said:
‘If you do something corny I’d like to come along and watch.”
“My guitar was at Tom Petty’s house, so Tom and Jeff picked me up and we went over to Bob’s”.
“We knew Bob had a studio, sometimes you can phone him and not get through for years, but he picked up first ring and said ‘Sure, come on over!'
“Then I thought, if Roy Orbison is going to come, it’s silly to just have him sitting there, he is a better singer than anybody, I’ll write a little part for him to sing”.
“We set up a room where we were gonna be and then we walked in and started writing the tunes”.