I was a Traveling Wilbury’s fan as soon as “Handle with Care” was released. Now, the two CDs are being re-released:
It was a rock album conceived by accident that no one thought would succeed even though it was made by Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty.
And it was the rock album plus a successor that disappeared for a decade despite the fame it achieved.
Now the two volumes of the “The Traveling Wilburys” are being reissued thanks to efforts made by Harrison’s widow Olivia, bringing back to public notice what had started as a fantasy camp for rock stars.
Old friends Harrison, Dylan, Orbison, Petty and Lynne bumped into each other in Los Angeles two decades ago, and ended up in a home recording studio where they sat around a microphone singing and playing guitar.
Over late-night beers and joints, they dubbed themselves the Traveling Wilburys and released the fruits of their labors on a 1988 album titled “Traveling Wilburys Volume 1.”
It was a worldwide smash, yielding two hit singles, “Handle with Care” and “End of the Line,” and a Grammy. The Wilburys had such a blast that they got together — without Orbison, who died a few weeks after the release of the first album — for a 1990 follow-up, jokingly titled “Volume 3.”
“It was terrific fun,” Petty said in a recent interview. “It’s just hard to describe how much fun it was. No laboring over it.”
Both discs have been out of print for a decade, a situation that will be remedied next week when they return to shelves through archival label Rhino Records, accompanied by a new DVD documentary, bonus tracks and other goodies.
For anyone who’s unfamiliar with the Traveling Wilburys, here’s their video “Handle with Care.”