From 'Handle With Care', writing and recording an album in nine days with the aid of a fridge, and getting band-name advice from Johnny Carson and the Pope; to the untimely passing of Roy Orbison and the 'Nobody's Child' charity record for Romanian orphans, THE TRAVELING WILBURYS is a story of friendship and laughter, shot through with the Python-esque humour that they all enjoyed.

Unseen, often unfinished, handwritten lyrics run throughout the book as well as song arrangements, notes, sketches, and recording logs, many of which are tipped-in or hand pasted onto and between pages as individual facsimile reproductions.

GEORGE: 'Tweeter and The Monkey Man' began with Tom and Bob sitting around in the kitchen, talking about all this stuff which didn't make much sense to me. I think it's Americana stuff. We got a cassette tape, put it on, then transcribed everything they were saying and then Bob changed it. That, for me, was just amazing to watch. 

'I had very little to do with writing that tune at all, except Jeff and I remembered a bit Bob had done that he'd forgotten which became the chorus part. But it was just fantastic watching him. He had one take warming himself up, and then he did it for real on take two.

JEFF: 'I went into the studio really early one day with the engineer Richard Dodd, and double-tracked a telecaster. I took all the other instruments out, all the other guitars and everything, and played new chords under Roy's voice. It worked great - suddenly the tune jumped into life and Roy's singing had much more meaning to it. It was how it should be. When the other lads came in they went, 'Wow, that's great, amazing!' And that's how we left it.'

JEFF: 'It's supposed to be a bunch of chaps having a bit of fun, you know? It's not supposed to be thought out to the last detail. It's basically a group in its raw form. There a couple of overdubs of course, a few. But basically we kept it very, very simple, because that's how we heard it.'

GEORGE: 'We added touches here and there but we tried to keep it more or less like it was as we wrote and did it. It's polished off a bit, but not too much.'

GEORGE: Somebody was making these guitar picks and they said, ‘What should we put on them?' Everybody has some smart little thing written on the pick. So, as we'd just been talking about these 'trembling wilburys', I had it misspelled as 'travelling wilburys' on this guitar pick. But at that point it was just a drunken thought at the back of my head.'

TOM: 'It's a lot easier to make an album when there are three people besides yourself to bounce things off, rather than sitting on your own trying to think of ideas.'

GEORGE: 'The first song we wrote was called 'Inside Out'. From everybody arriving at the house, within an hour we had that song written. Not the lyrics, but we had the format for the tune. Then we put it down on tape - one take, two takes maybe - and then we wrote another song. In one day we did something like five tunes in two-and-a-half hours.'

JIM: 'Just watching these guys interact was great. To see all they felt for each other and to think how that would have translated on stage would have been awesome!'

ROY: 'We're getting to be quite good friends. We hang out even when we don't have to.'

Continue reading... The Collector Edition


by The Traveling Wilburys

Available to order

The Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys

The Traveling Wilburys

• Signed by Jeff Lynne
• Italian linen binding
• Cloth-covered slipcase
• Limited edition print: 'Handle With Care' facsimile song lyrics
• 3,000 copies worldwide