For a while there the term “super group” was used so haphazardly that the meaning became watered down.
In 1988, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne came together at Bob Dylan’s Malibu, California studio to contribute a B-side to the George Harrison’s single, “This Is Love.” The group of future Rock & Roll Hall of Famers recorded the single “Handle with Care,” and loved it so much they decided to form a group around the song.
The quintet called themselves the Traveling Wilburys and took up the non de plume of a band of brothers – “Lucky Wilbury” (Bob Dylan); “Nelson Wilbury” (George Harrison); “Otis Wilbury”(Jeff Lynne); “Lefty Wilbury” (Roy Orbison); and “Charlie T. Wilbury, Jr” (Tom Petty). The mother of all super groups continued to write and record more songs for their debut album ‘Volume 1,’ which went on to be certified double platinum and earned a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group, and was propelled by MTV and radio jumping all over the singles “End of the Line” and “Handle With Care.”
Unbeknownst at the time, the Grammy-winning album would be the swan song for Orbison a.k.a. Lefty Wilbury, who passed away in December of that year. In honor of their fallen brother, the remaining Wilburys went on to record a new collection of songs and issued it under the title ‘Volume 3’ (no need for a second volume to avoid that “sophomore slump”). Behind the radio hits “She’s My Baby” and “Wilbury Twist,” the Wilbury brothers had another platinum selling album on their hands.
The brilliance of this many talented musicians in one group is astonishing, and it’s also a bit of a shame they only released two albums. The two records were reissued in 2007 as ‘Traveling Wilburys Collection’ after being out of print for years. Now, the Concord Bicycle Music Group is upping the ante with the re-issue of the ‘Traveling Wilburys Collection’ box set as a limited-edition, uniquely numbered 2-CD, DVD box set and 180-gram vinyl box with, for the first time, high-resolution downloads. The impressive box set includes both Wilbury albums, bonus tracks and a DVD of rare Wilbury footage.
This super group of all super groups comes along once in a lifetime; I am just thrilled it was in my lifetime. If you are a fan of any of their musicians individually or as a whole, ‘Traveling Wilburys’ is something to behold and will never happen again.