Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
Studio album by Traveling Wilburys
Released October 18, 1988 (1988-10-18)
Recorded April – May 1988
FPShot, Lucky Studios and Dave Stewart Studios
Genre Rock, folk rock
Length 36:22
Label Wilbury/Warner Bros. Records
Producer Otis Wilbury, Nelson Wilbury
Traveling Wilburys chronology
Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Houston Chronicle 3.5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau (A-)[3]
Rolling Stone 2/5 stars[4]
Wiki letter w.svg This table needs to be expanded using prose. See the guideline for more information.

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 is the debut album by the supergroup Traveling Wilburys and was recorded and released in 1988 to commercial success and critical acclaim.



In early April 1988, George Harrison was in Los Angeles, California and needed to record a B-side for a European 12-inch single. Jeff Lynne was also in Los Angeles producing some tracks for Roy Orbison as well as Tom Petty’s solo album. While having dinner with Lynne and Orbison, Harrison related how he needed to record a new track and wanted to do it the next day. Both offered to help. Needing a studio on short notice, Harrison suggested they call Bob Dylan, who had a home studio. After dinner, George stopped by Tom Petty’s house to pick up his guitar for the next day’s session and invited him along too. Gathering at Dylan’s Malibu home the following day, they wrote and recorded the song “Handle with Care” in five hours, with all five sharing the vocals.[5]

The track was considered too good to be used as a B-side, so Harrison hatched the idea to form a band and record another nine songs for an album. The group got together again for nine days in May, recording the basic tracks and vocals at David A. Stewart’s home studio in Los Angeles. Overdubs and mixing were done back in England at Harrison’s home studio F.P.S.H.O.T. (Friar Park Studio, Henley-on-Thames).

Masquerading as the Wilbury brothers, the participants would be known as Nelson (Harrison), Otis (Lynne), Lucky (Dylan), Lefty (Orbison) and Charlie T. Jr. (Petty). Harrison was no stranger to the use of alternate identities with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but this concept was taken a step further: their real names never appear anywhere on the album, liner notes, or even the songwriting credits.

With Harrison having the greatest claim to the band, he signed them up to Warner Bros. Records (which Petty eventually signed to himself, and which, through Reprise Records, released Lynne's solo album Armchair Theatre in 1990), his current label, and incorporated their own Wilbury Records label, in addition to producing the sessions with Lynne that spring.

The album

Released October 18, 1988, Volume One became the surprise hit of the year, selling two million copies within six months in the United States. Although the single "Handle With Care" did not scale the pop charts (it stalled at US #45), the album did, reaching #16 in the UK and an impressive #3 in the US. With over fifty weeks on the charts, the album was later certified triple-platinum. While Harrison and Petty had had recent successes, Dylan, Orbison (who would die suddenly of a heart attack on 6 December 1988) and Lynne had not seen an album climb that high in several years. At the time, no Dylan album had ever achieved two million in sales. As one critic put it, it was "one of the great commercial coups of the decade."

Most critics said the group's modest ambitions were fresh and relaxing. During 1989 and 1990 the album won many accolades, including a Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group.

After George Harrison’s distribution deal with Warner Bros. expired in 1995, ownership of the Dark Horse Records catalog as well as the two Traveling Wilburys albums reverted to Harrison and the albums went out of print.[6] On June 12, 2007, Volume One and Vol. 3 were re-issued by Rhino Records as The Traveling Wilburys Collection, packaged together with bonus tracks and a DVD. The box set debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart and at #9 on The Billboard 200.

Track listing

All songs were written by Traveling Wilburys.

Side one
  1. "Handle with Care" – 3:20
  2. "Dirty World" – 3:30
  3. "Rattled" – 3:00
  4. "Last Night" – 3:48
  5. "Not Alone Any More" – 3:24
Side two
  1. "Congratulations" – 3:30
  2. "Heading for the Light" – 3:37
  3. "Margarita" – 3:15
  4. "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" – 5:30
  5. "End of the Line" – 3:30

2007 reissue bonus tracks

  1. "Maxine" – 2:49
  2. "Like A Ship" – 3:31


According to statements by George Harrison in the documentary The True History of the Traveling Wilburys (filmed in 1988 about the making of the album and re-released on the bonus DVD included in The Traveling Wilburys Collection), the whole band gave various contributions to all songs, although each song was mainly written by a single member; the joint songwriting credit came from the fact that giving individualized credits looked egotistical.[7] However, the publishing credits on the Collection book are more revealing about the actual songwriter, as each of the credited publishers belongs to a single member. Thus, Harrison's Umlaut Corporation (formerly Ganga Publishing) is credited for "Handle with Care", "Heading for the Light", "End of the Line" and the bonus track "Maxine", identifying him as the main writer of those songs; Bob Dylan, credited via his Special Rider Music publisher, wrote "Dirty World" (according to Harrison's and Jeff Lynne's recollections on the documentary, Dylan and all the other band members gave their input to the song by pitching in funny lines to complete the lyric line "He loves your..."[7]), "Congratulations", the long narrative of "Tweeter and the Monkey Man" and the other bonus track, "Like a Ship"; Tom Petty, published by Gone Gator Music, wrote "Last Night" (again, with substantial lyrical contributions from the entire band [7]) and "Margarita"; finally, Jeff Lynne's publisher, Shard End Music (named after his birthplace), identifies him as the writer of "Rattled" and "Not Alone Any More".[8] The separation was not repeated for the publishing credits of Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, which show all songs as being published by all four publishers.[8]


Additional personnel


  • Produced by Otis & Nelson Wilbury (Jeff Lynne & George Harrison)
  • Engineers – Bill Bottrell, Richard Dodd, Phil MacDonald, Don Smith


Grammy Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1990 Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal[9] Won
Album of the Year[10] Nominated

American Music Awards

Year Nominated work Award Result
1990 Traveling Wilburys (performer) Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist[11] Nominated


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[12] 6× Platinum 600,000^
Germany (BVMI)[13] Gold 250,000^
Sweden (IFPI Sweden)[14] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[15] Gold 25,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[16] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[17] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


Chart positions

Chart Peak
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[18] 1
Austrian Albums Chart[19] 3
Canadian RPM Albums Chart[20] 3
Dutch Mega Albums Chart[21] 33
German Media Control Albums Chart[22] 10
Japanese Oricon Albums Chart[23] 46
New Zealand Albums Chart[24] 2
Norwegian VG-lista Albums Chart[25] 2
Swedish Albums Chart[26] 2
Swiss Albums Chart[27] 6
UK Albums Chart[28] 16
U.S. Billboard 200 [29] 3

Year-end charts

Chart (1988) Position
UK Albums Chart[30] 78
Chart (1989) Position
Australian Albums Chart[31] 1
Austrian Albums Chart[32] 25
Canadian Albums Chart[33] 3
Swiss Albums Chart[34] 20
UK Albums Chart[30] 99
U.S. Billboard 200[35] 8

Decade-end charts

Chart (1980-89) Position
Australian Albums Chart[36] 40
Preceded by
Cocktail (soundtrack) by Various artists
Australian ARIA Albums Chart number-one album
February 13–26, 1989
Succeeded by
Mystery Girl by Roy Orbison


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Racine, Martin (1988-11-06). "Records". Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  3. ^ Robert Christgau review
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ Bauder, David. "Traveling Wilburys album a happy accident of music" The Associated Press December 11, 1988
  6. ^ White, Timothy. "Harrison, mates recommission Yellow Submarine" The Plain Dealer July 4, 1999: 1I
  7. ^ a b c The True History of the Traveling Wilburys documentary, The Traveling Wilburys Collection bonus DVD
  8. ^ a b The Traveling Wilburys Collection book
  9. ^ "Past Winners Search". Retrieved 2011-08-08. 
  10. ^ "HERE'S LIST OF NOMINEES FROM ALL 77 CATEGORIES". Deseret News. Retrieved 2011-08-31. 
  11. ^ "Milli Vanilli, Travis and Dancers Star at American Music Awards". 1990-01-23. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  12. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Traveling Wilburys – Volume 1". Music Canada. 
  13. ^ "German album certifications – Traveling Wilburys – Traveling Wilburys" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  14. ^ "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1987−1998" (in Swedish) (PDF). IFPI Sweden. 
  15. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Traveling Wilburys; 'Traveling Wilburys')". Hung Medien. 
  16. ^ "British album certifications – Traveling Wilburys – Traveling Wilburys". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Traveling Wilburys in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Traveling Wilburys – Traveling Wilburys". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  18. ^ " Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1 publisher = Australian Recording Industry Association" (ASP). Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  19. ^ " Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1" (in German) (ASP). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  20. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 2011-10-29
  21. ^ " Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1" (in Dutch) (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  22. ^ "Album Search: Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  23. ^ Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4871310779. 
  24. ^ " Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  25. ^ " Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  26. ^ " Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1" (in Swedish) (ASP). Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  27. ^ "Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1 -" (in German) (ASP). Hung Medien. Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  28. ^ "Chart Stats - Traveling Wilburys - Vol. 1" (PHP). UK Albums Chart. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  29. ^ "allmusic ((( Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  30. ^ a b "Complete UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  31. ^ "ARIA Charts - End of Year Charts - Top 50 Albums 1989". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  32. ^ " - Jahreshitparade 1989" (in German) (ASP). Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  33. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1989". RPM. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  34. ^ " - Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1989" (in Swedish) (ASP). Swiss Music Charts. Hung Medien. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  35. ^ "Billboard.BIZ - Year-end Charts - Billboard 200 - 1989". Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  36. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0646119176. 

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