portrait of this blog's author - by Stephen Blackman 2008

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Any excuse to post this one again . . . . 

On this day in music history: October 18, 1988 - “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1”, the debut album by The Traveling Wilburys is released. Produced by Otis Wilbury and Nelson Wilbury, it is recorded at FPSHOT in Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire, UK, Lucky Studios and Dave Stewart Studios in Los Angeles, CA from April - May 1988. In early 1988, George Harrison is enjoying the success of his album “Cloud Nine”. Appearing on the radio show Rockline, he is asked about unreleased material. George says, “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”. “It’s this new group I got: it’s called the Traveling Wilburys”. Planning to issue “This Is Love” as a single, he decides to record a new song for the B-side. This and a private in-joke results in one of the most successful and acclaimed albums of the year. While working with former ELO leader Jeff Lynne, Harrison coins the name “Wilbury”, joking that “we’ll bury ‘em in the mix”, to cover any mistakes. At the time Lynne is working with rock legend Roy Orbison, and they all meet for dinner one evening. Orbison, who Harrison has known since 1963, is invited to participate in the session George is planning. Needing a studio, George calls Bob Dylan to ask if they can use his. Dylan agrees and is added to the fold. Having lent a guitar to friend Tom Petty, Harrison goes to retrieve it and tells him about planning to record with Dylan, Orbison and Lynne, then also invites Petty to join. Meeting at Dylan’s studio in early April of 1988, the five musicians joined by veteran studio drummer Jim Keltner write and record “Handle With Care” (#45 Pop). When George plays it for his label Warner Bros Records, they tell him it’s too good for a B-side, and request a full album to go with it. Enjoying the initial session, they quickly write and record more songs. Adapting the name Traveling Wilburys and referring to themselves as “half-brothers” and the sons of “Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr.”, they take the names “Nelson” (Harrison), “Otis” (Lynne), “Charlie T., Jr.” (Petty), “Lucky” (Dylan) and “Lefty” (Orbison). The resulting album is a huge success, and hits the top five. Sadly, Roy Orbison dies less than two months after it’s released. His band mates pay tribute to him in the video for the second single “End Of The Line” (#63 Pop), showing a framed picture of him and his guitar sitting in a rocking chair. “Volume 1” wins a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1989. It spins off a sequel album titled “Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 3” in 1990, but is less successful than its predecessor. Falling out of print, the two albums are remastered and reissued as a limited edition box set (on CD and vinyl) in 2007, six years after George Harrison’s death. “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1” peaks at number three on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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