Traveling Wilburys

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The Traveling Wilburys
Traveling Wilburys.jpg
The Traveling Wilburys in 1988
Top: Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty
Bottom: Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison
Background information
OriginMalibu, California
GenresFolk rock, country rock, roots rock, heartland rock
Years active1988 (1988)–1990 (1990)
LabelsWilbury / Warner Bros.
Associated actsThe Move
Electric Light Orchestra
The Beatles
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Mudcrutch
Websitewww.travelingwilburys.com
Past membersBob Dylan
George Harrison
Jeff Lynne
Roy Orbison
Tom Petty
Jim Keltner
 
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The Traveling Wilburys
Traveling Wilburys.jpg
The Traveling Wilburys in 1988
Top: Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty
Bottom: Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison
Background information
OriginMalibu, California
GenresFolk rock, country rock, roots rock, heartland rock
Years active1988 (1988)–1990 (1990)
LabelsWilbury / Warner Bros.
Associated actsThe Move
Electric Light Orchestra
The Beatles
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Mudcrutch
Websitewww.travelingwilburys.com
Past membersBob Dylan
George Harrison
Jeff Lynne
Roy Orbison
Tom Petty
Jim Keltner

The Traveling Wilburys (sometimes shortened to the Wilburys) were an English-American supergroup consisting of Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty. The band recorded two albums in 1988 and 1990, though Orbison died before the second was recorded.

History[edit]

1988–1990[edit]

George Harrison first mentioned the Traveling Wilburys during a radio interview with Bob Coburn on the Rockline radio station in February 1988. When asked what he planned to do as a follow-up for his Cloud Nine album, Harrison replied: "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."[1] "Wilbury" was a slang term first used by Harrison during the recording of Cloud Nine with Jeff Lynne. Referring to recording errors created by some faulty equipment, Harrison jokingly remarked to Lynne, "We'll bury 'em in the mix".[2][3] Thereafter, they used the term for any small error in performance and the term was used again when the group were together. Harrison suggested "The Trembling Wilburys" as the group's name; instead, Lynne suggested "Traveling", with which the group agreed.[2]

Starting with a meal among Harrison, Lynne and Roy Orbison, the group came together at Bob Dylan's home studio in Malibu, California, to record an additional track as a B-side for the single release of Harrison's "This Is Love". Tom Petty's involvement came by chance, as Harrison had left his guitar at Petty's house and Harrison went to get it and Petty came back with him.[4] The record label, however, decided that the song that resulted, "Handle with Care", was too good to be released as a "single filler". The members enjoyed working together so much that they decided to create a full album together. Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1. Written by all five men, it was recorded over a ten-day period in May 1988, and released on October 18. The album was recorded in the house and garden of Eurythmics member Dave Stewart.[5] The "Wilburys" joke was extended further, with the band members credited under various pseudonyms and pretending to be half-brothers – sons of a fictional Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr.[6] The album was a critical and commercial success, spawning several successful singles and eventually reaching triple-platinum sales status in the US. The album was nominated for several awards and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group in 1989. Liner notes on the album cover were written by Michael Palin under a pseudonym. On the second album they were written by Eric Idle under a pseudonym.

Roy Orbison died of a heart attack on December 6, 1988. In tribute to Orbison, the music video for "End of the Line" shows Orbison's guitar rocking in a chair as the rest of the group play, followed by a brief shot focusing on a framed picture of him. Despite Orbison's death, the remaining group members recorded a second and final studio album, which they intentionally misnumbered Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3. It was released on October 30, 1990, and met with less success than the previous one. In the booklet contained in the 2007 box set, the album title is credited to "George being George";[7] apparently Harrison was making a wry reference to the appearance of a bootleg that served as a sort of Volume 2.[8]

Collaborations[edit]

During their time together (approx. 1988–1992), the five members of the Traveling Wilburys frequently collaborated on each other's solo records:

The Traveling Wilburys also appeared in a number of projects outside of their two albums; Harrison appeared as Nelson Wilbury on Warner Bros. Records' 1988 "holiday promo album" Winter Warnerland (which also included Paul Reubens as "Pee Wee Wilbury"), as well as "Spike and Nelson Wilbury" on his 1992 live album Live in Japan. The group contributed the title track, "Nobody's Child", to the Romanian Angel Appeal benefit album Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal, released on July 24, 1990. This song was also included on the 2007 collection.

After the Wilburys[edit]

Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty collaborated with Del Shannon on his 1991 album Rock On, which spawned rumors that Shannon would fill the late Orbison's position in the group.[9] After his 1991 tour of Japan, George Harrison spoke of a Traveling Wilburys tour:

That would be something I'd like to experience. I've always played around in my own mind what a Wilburys tour could be. Would each person do a solo set and then do Wilburys at the end, or would we all go right on from beginning to end and make everything Wilburys? It's an intriguing thought. We could have a great band up there and the four of us could play acoustic if we wanted to. We could all sing "Blowin' in the Wind" and Bob could sing "Something". Or we could just sing our individual songs and make them Wilbury tunes, as if we'd recorded them that way. Whatever it was, we could do it.

The Wilburys tour never came about. Tom Petty said about the Wilburys touring:

I think it would work, if we wanted to do it. I don't think we ever considered it, really. There were a lot of nights when the conversation would roll around to that. But I don't think anybody ever took it seriously. I think it would ruin it in a way. Then you're obligated to be responsible and it's not in the character of that group. It would make it very formal and that would be the wrong spirit.

Lynne continued to work with Harrison occasionally, including acting as producer for the two "new" Beatles singles "Free as a Bird" (1995) and "Real Love" (1996) for The Beatles Anthology. After Harrison's death in 2001, Lynne and Dhani Harrison co-produced and finished the elder Harrison's posthumous album Brainwashed (2002). Lynne later produced Tom Petty's album Highway Companion (2006).

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the two Traveling Wilburys albums had limited availability and were out of print in most areas. Harrison, as primary holder of the rights, did not reissue them before his death. In June 2007, the two albums were reissued as The Traveling Wilburys Collection, a box set including both albums on CD (with bonus tracks) and a DVD featuring a twenty-four minute band documentary and a collection of music videos. The box set was released in three editions; the standard edition, with both CDs and DVD in a double Digipak package and a 16-page booklet; a "deluxe" boxed edition with the CDs and DVD and an extensive 40-page booklet, artist postcards, and photographs; or a "deluxe" boxed edition on vinyl. This version omits the DVD, but adds a 12" vinyl disc with rare versions of the songs. The release debuted at #1 in the UK album charts[10] and the Australian album charts.[11] On the US Billboard 200 it reached #9. The collection sold 500,000 copies worldwide during the first three weeks and remained in the UK top 5 for seven weeks after its release.

Line-ups[edit]

Volume 1
Volume 3

Jim Keltner, the session drummer and percussionist, was not listed as a Wilbury on either album. However, he is seen in all of the group's music videos, and on the DVD released in 2007, he is given the nickname "Buster Sidebury". Overdubs to the bonus tracks "Maxine" and "Like a Ship" also credit "Ayrton Wilbury", a pseudonym for Dhani Harrison. The name Ayrton was used in honor of F1 racer Ayrton Senna.[12] Jim Horn played saxphone on both albums. The lead guitar on the Volume 3 song "She's My Baby" was played by rock guitarist Gary Moore.[13]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

TitleDetailsPeak chart positionsCertifications
(sales threshold)
US
[14]
AUS
[15]
AUT
[16]
NOR
[17]
NZ
[18]
SWE
[19]
SWI
[20]
UK
[21]
Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
  • Release date: October 18, 1988
  • Label: Wilbury Records
  • Formats: CD, Vinyl, cassette
313222616
Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3
  • Release date: October 29, 1990
  • Label: Wilbury Records
  • Formats: CD, Vinyl, cassette
11142231951814

Other albums[edit]

TitleDetailsPeak chart positionsCertifications
(sales threshold)
US
[14]
AUS
[15]
AUT
[16]
NOR
[17]
NZ
[18]
SWE
[19]
SWI
[20]
UK
[21]
Winter Warnerland (holiday promo album)
Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal
  • Release date: UK: July 23, 1990
    US: July 24, 1990
  • Label: Warner Bros. Records
  • Formats: CD, Vinyl
The Traveling Wilburys Collection9124112451

Singles[edit]

YearSinglePeak chart positionsAlbum
US
[28]
US Main
[29]
US AC
[30]
AUS
[31]
CAN
[32]
NZ
[33]
UK
[21]
1988"Handle with Care"452303421Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
1989"End of the Line"63228121152
1990"Nobody's Child"944Nobody's Child: Romanian Angel Appeal
"She's My Baby"2453079Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3
1991"Wilbury Twist"4686
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Other charted songs[edit]

YearSinglePeak chart positionsAlbum
US Main
[29]
CAN
[32]
NZ
[33]
UK
[21]
1988"Last Night"5Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
1989"Tweeter and the Monkey Man"41
"Heading for the Light"7
1990"Inside Out"1650Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

References[edit]

  1. ^ Interview excerpt from Bob Coburn's Rockline radio show, February 1988
  2. ^ a b Ostin, Mo (2007). "The True History of the Traveling Wilburys". The Traveling Wilburys Collection (CD booklet). Traveling Wilburys. Wilbury Records. p. 2. 
  3. ^ ""The History of the Traveling Wilburys", Traveling Wilburys official site". Retrieved September 3, 2008. 
  4. ^ Smax, Willy (2007). The True History of the Travelling Wilburys (DVD). Traveling Wilburys; Willy Smax and Olivia Harrison, producers http://www.travelingwilburys.com/ |url= missing title (help). 
  5. ^ Interview with Dave Stewart confirming the site of recording on BBC Andrew Marr Show, 2011
  6. ^ "Wilburys Streaming Event Honors Father's Day". Georgeharrison.com. Retrieved April 13, 2012. [dead link]
  7. ^ Ostin, Mo (2007). "The True History of the Traveling Wilburys". The Traveling Wilburys Collection (CD booklet). Traveling Wilburys. Wilbury Records. p. 3. 
  8. ^ Traveling Wilburys Volume 3, 2002
  9. ^ "Del Shannon Biography". Delshannon.com. Retrieved April 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Wilburys are UK album number one". BBC News. June 17, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Top 50 Albums Chart - Australian Record Industry Association". Retrieved November 13, 2007. 
  12. ^ "Ayrton Wilbury nasceu do amor à música e à Fórmula 1". Luiz Augusto Lima. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  13. ^ Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, George Harrison.com. Retrieved March 31, 2014
  14. ^ a b "The Traveling Wilburys Album & Song Chart History - Billboard 200". Billboard. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "australian-charts.com - Australian charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "austriancharts.at - Austria Top 40". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b "norwegiancharts.com - Norwegian charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "chars.org.nz - New Zealand charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "swedishcharts.com - Swedish charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  20. ^ a b "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  21. ^ a b c d "Chart Stats - Traveling Wilburys". chartstats.com. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b "Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA): Gold & Platinum". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b c "British Phonographic Industry search results". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  24. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum - March 4, 2011: The Traveling Wilburys certified awards". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  25. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum - March 4, 2011: Volume 3 certified awards". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  26. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2007 Albums". ARIA Charts. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  27. ^ "RIAA - Gold & Platinum - March 4, 2011: The Traveling Wilburys Collection certified awards". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  28. ^ "The Traveling Wilburys Album & Song Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  29. ^ a b "The Traveling Wilburys : Allmusic : Billboard Singles". AllMusic. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  30. ^ "The Traveling Wilburys Album & Song Chart History - Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  31. ^ "australian-charts.com - Australian charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  32. ^ a b "Results - RPM - Library and Archives Canada - Top Singles". RPM. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  33. ^ a b "charts.org.nz - New Zealand charts portal". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 

External links[edit]