The Origin Story Of The Traveling Wilburys
via B-Movie Roll-Out / YouTube
There has always been potential for both good and bad outcomes when it comes to forming a supergroup in the rock and roll industry. However, the chemistry between the members of the Traveling Wilburys was genuinely amazing in the cutthroat music industry, where individual musicians sometimes lack the necessary spark without their comrades.
George Harrison was already familiar with Tom Petty from their time spent together working on his record Full Moon Fever before he formed the rest of the band. After collaborating with ELO’s Jeff Lynne, who had previously done wonders for Tom Petty’s record, Harrison began to work with him for his album Cloud Nine.
When Harrison sent in his record to the label after spending time in the same creative surroundings, he was informed that he was missing a B-side. By contacting his idol, Roy Orbison, Harrison was able to convince him to provide his vocals to the track while recording at Bob Dylan’s studio. After playing around with the song, Harrison invited Petty to the studio to finish it. A construction crate’s single word of “HANDLE WITH CARE” provided Harrison with the inspiration he needed after struggling to come up with a title. And so, while the recording session itself went off without a hitch, the label had one major issue: the song was too wonderful. When Harrison had the chance to collaborate with other rock greats on one of his finest songs, he didn’t waste it. Now that his pals were in the studio with him, he could easily knock off the remaining songs he needed to complete the record.
The legendary lineup of musicians decided it would be hilarious to go by surnames for the record. In the liner notes, each member of the band is listed under a different pseudonym ending in “Wilbury,” almost as if to evoke the idea that they were a nomadic group making their way throughout the country, and so, with Lynne, Petty, Dylan, Orbison, and Harrison on track, the legendary name, and group Traveling Wilburys, was born.