The Traveling Wilburys – General Introduction

The Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys have gone down in history as one of the most enjoyable and – above all – genuine supergroups ever. The key to their appeal might lie in the fact that the five band members were excellent friends who knew how to collaborate and complement each other’s musical stance, stopping exactly at the line that separated one from the other. They worked with each other without intruding an inch, and without giving an inch. Such chemistry is rare, and the fact that five different individuals could have it at the same time goes some way into explaining the Wilburys’ effectiveness.

Everybody knows who they are, but in case you are just discovering them: George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty and Roy Orbison.

They came together when Harrison needed to record a B-side, and the resulting song (“Handle With Care”) was something that even the biggest undiscerning person in the industry would have regarded as far, far more than a B-side. Two full-length collaborations were to ensue, titled “Volume I” and “Volume III”.

Bob Dyln, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, George Harrison & Roy Orbison

Left To Right: Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, George Harrison & Roy Orbison

Of these two studio albums, the first is noticeably better if only because Roy Orbison was still around and the spontaneity of the whole project was felt more strongly. Come the second album, Orbison had passed away and some egos sadly began projecting themselves more markedly than others. The Wilburys called it a day after releasing their second album of original compositions.

While both albums are excellent, the first one in particular showcases all the things that were so lovable about them: friendship, innocence, superlative musicianship and faultless melodic skills. I will review them very soon, and just to whet your appetite: