A Fascinating Documentary About How and Why George Harrison Formed The Traveling Wilburys

In 1988, director Willy Smax made a documentary about The Traveling Wilburys, specifically showcasing how George Harrison put together an incredible group of such talented musicians, seemingly to meet a musical obligation. But it turned out to be so much more.

It appears that Warner Brothers had asked Harrison for a B-side to his song “This Is Love”. In order to satisfy this request, Harrison, who was in Los Angeles at the time, put together a new band. The band, which consisted of Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Jim Keltner, and Roy Orbison, had come together at Dylan’s studio to record “Handle With Care”.

This was mid-1988. Cloud Nine was just out. George, along with cowriter Jeff Lynne and their friends Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison, had been hanging out in Dylan’s studio. I suppose George figured that as long as his pals were on hand, why not use them to knock off this flipside?

The group later came back together to record an album. Among the songs recorded were “End of the Line”, “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”, “Last Night” and “Inside Out”. Rather than the one song requested by the record company, Harrison and the band produced two popular albums. Sadly, Roy Orbison passed away after the release of the first album. The band paid tribute to Orbison in the video for “End of the Line”.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.