The Traveling Wilburys: Handle With Care

The perfect band to introduce the mission of this site, the Traveling Wilburys were a “supergroup” formed in 1988 and consisted of five legendary rock artists. George Harrison of The Beatles brought together Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne. They quickly recorded an album in a matter of a few weeks after a song originally intended as a B-Side to Harrison’s Cloud Nine ended up being too good. Unlike many “supergroups”, ego didn’t interfere with some incredible music that is unknown to many. While the group had plans for more, Orbison’s tragic death at the end of 1988 derailed plans for more albums and a movie, and the band only produced two albums, Volume 1 and Volume 3. When asked why the second album would be called “Volume 3”, Harrison answered “let’s confuse the buggers!”

This site will attempt to expose some “deeper cuts” with a bit of history behind each song. In the history of music, billions of songs have been written, and millions have been recorded. Each decade, many great artists and groups have put out a lot of music, and radio stations were forced to pick the best ones fit for airplay, simultaneously ignoring some of the very good songs that didn’t receive attention. Going back and listening to these albums has been a lot of fun for me, and I’m attempting to expose some of my favorites from these albums that didn’t top the charts.

Without further ado, the debut song is the Wilburys’ best-known, “Handle with Care.” Harrison actually had the idea to write this song because they recorded it in an oversized garage that had boxes labeled “Handle with Care”, and it sparked a really nice lyrical piece with some signature Harrison guitar solos, Dylan/Orbison harmonica parts (who actually played the harmonica is up for debate), and beautiful vocal contrasts. Harrison provides the lead vocals for the verses, and Orbison follows with his signature, operatic voice (a voice that prompted Elvis Presley to say that he would never appear on stage with Orbison at the same time). A grungy, Dylanesque section ensues from Petty and Dylan to create a really cool part while the other three provide harmonies. It also bears noting that today is Bob Dylan’s 79th birthday. An iconic singer, Dylan inspired thousands of artists, including The Beatles, and he still writes and performs songs today. This is certainly a feel-good song with a catchy riff that will brighten your day and make you want to listen to more of this awesome supergroup.

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