Released in the fall of 1988, “Handle with Care” was the song that led to the creation of one of the greatest supergroups in rock & roll history. It all started when Warner Bros. Records asked George Harrison to come up with a bonus track for the European release of his single “This is Love.” Harrison discussed it over dinner with Jeff Lynne (ELO) and Roy Orbison in Los Angeles. Lynne agreed to work on the song with Harrison, and Orbison asked if he could come along.
With no professional recording studios available on short notice, George Harrison called Bob Dylan, who agreed to let them use his home studio in Malibu. Tom Petty, who had also been working on his own album (Full Moon Fever) with Jeff Lynne in L.A., was invited the following day, when Harrison went to retrieve his guitar from Petty’s house. And that’s how The Traveling Wilburys were born.
“Handle with Care” became the first single on Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 and reached #2 on the Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. The video was filmed at an abandoned brewery near Union Station in L.A. It’s a fairly straightforward concept: five legendary friends making music together. What else do you need?
Sadly, this was the last music video in which Roy Orbison would appear. He died of a heart attack on December 6, 1988. Since then, we’ve also lost George Harrison and Tom Petty. That makes the black-and-white photos of each of the Wilburys as boys even more poignant. The first one appears at the 1:23 mark.