JEFF: 'It was a treat to play, with all of us - Roy, Bob, Tom, George and me - strumming around a few microphones. It was a big thrill. It was quite amazing to see a group like that. To be in it was even more amazing.'
The result is a candid look at how five of the greatest ever singers, songwriters and musicians ever to have strummed acoustic guitars joined together in a series of kitchens and living rooms to write two albums of unforgettable songs.
GEORGE: 'I think people get stuck in a concept about what the record business us. With the Wilburys it was very flippant. It was a great excuse to put a finger up to the rules and I think that playfulness comes across...'
THE TRAVELING WILBURYS features a wealth of hand-written lyrics, notes and sketches that present a unique picture of the group at work.
TOM: 'The four of us would strike up a rhythm and find some chord changes we liked. Jeff might say, "Change that 'A' to a 'D'..." And it goes back and forth. Once the chord pattern is set you make a little arrangement - you know, there's an intro, here's a verse - and put that down. Then we'd have dinner and discuss what the song was going to be about.'
JIM: 'I was used to George being able to do anything, so while others may have been astonished I thought, 'Okay, this is another of George's deals'.
'I remember the first time I went to a session at Dave Stewart's. It was a 'homey', little studio with a front porch and a swing. I could see these figures on the swing and milling about on the porch. When I got in full view I could see Roy Orbison and Tom Petty and George Harrison and Jeff Lynne. And when I saw Bob Dylan I freaked out! "Wow! he put all this together! He actually did it." Only George could have done.'
ROY: 'There wasn't a lot of deciding what to do, not a lot of time spent planning out anything. We just wrote the best songs we could write and sang 'em as best we could.'
GEORGE: 'It's different being a Wilbury than doing solo work. There's less responsibility and at least four times the amount of energy and input. It multiplies, so it's like four-times-four: 16 times the input! Things work quicker, itís easier. There's no end of brainstorms and ideas.'
JEFF: 'George used to have some fantastic ideas, hundreds of ideas. One where we'd go on a train - open up one coach into a stage, everybody could sit on the platform, we'd play for them and then off we'd go, into the night. They were all very romantic ideas, and brilliant. It would have been a lovely thing to do.'
GEORGE: 'It's more fun to just hang out with your friends, sod it, you know, just do something. I had to shake The Beatles off from around my neck. I had to do something other than being "Beatles George"... Now I've come full circle, I'm free of it, and I'm liberated. I can go on and be a Wilbury.'
JEFF: 'After we'd finished in LA with all the basic tracks, we all went to Friar Park and carried on working on them, just adding little bits of piano, guitar solos here and there, harmonies. Generally finishing them off, making them into records.'
Continue reading...The Manuscript
THE TRAVELING WILBURYS
by The Traveling Wilburys
Available to order
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