Liner Note Authors: Mo Ostin; Ted Ashenbecker; Anthony DeCurtis.
Recording information: Dave Stewart Studios; FPShot; Lucky Studios.
There never was a supergroup more super than the Traveling Wilburys. They had Jeff Lynne, the leader of ELO; they had Roy Orbison, the best pop singer of the '60s; they had Tom Petty, the best roots rocker this side of Bruce Springsteen; they had a Beatle and Bob Dylan, for crying out loud! It's impossible to picture a supergroup with a stronger pedigree than that (all that's missing is a Rolling Stone), but in another sense it's hard to call the Wilburys a true supergroup, since they arrived nearly two decades after the all-star craze of the '70s peaked, and they never had the self-important air of nearly all the other supergroups. That, of course, was the key to their charm: they were a group of friends who fell together easily, almost effortlessly, to record a B-side for a single for George Harrison; they had such a good time they stuck around to record a full album, which became a hit upon its 1988 release. The Traveling Wilburys was big enough to convince the group to record a second album, cheerfully and incongruously titled Vol. 3, two years later despite the death of Orbison. Like most sequels, the second didn't live up to expectations, and by the time it and its predecessor drifted out of print in the mid-'90s, with the rights reverting to Harrison, nobody much noticed. A few years later, though, it soon became apparent that the Wilburys' records -- mainly, the debut, widely beloved thanks to its two hits, "Handle with Care" and "End of the Line" -- were out of print, and they soon became valuable items as the Harrison estate dragged its heels on a reissue. Finally, the two albums were bundled up as a two-CD set simply called The Traveling Wilburys and reissued with a DVD/digital download containing a documentary and all the videos in the summer of 2007. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine