Music / The Traveling Wilburys

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_band_photo_8773.jpg
Pictured: Musical Awesomeness
Well it's all right, riding around in the breeze,
Well it's all right, if you live the life you please.
Well it's all right, doing the best you can,
Well it's all right, as long as you lend a hand.
"End Of The Line"

The Travelling Wilburys is Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynne. Holy shit.

One of the greatest supergroups of all time, this rare confluence of nearly 200 combined years of musical history came together in the very late 1980s to produce two albums (or so—see below).

The Traveling Wilburys provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Supergroup: Jeff Lynne was producing a single b-side for George Harrison, who needed to go get a guitar that he'd loaned to Tom Petty, who mentioned that Bob Dylan had a pretty good home recording studio (since Harrison was recording in the USA and couldn't use his usual FPSHOT home studio), and by the way he had just been talking to Roy Orbison... Yada yada yada, they had a hit single.
  • Affectionate Parody: Many of their songs come across as this - taking standard rock lyric tropes and pushing them just a little bit too far into absurdity.
  • Alien Abduction: Mentioned as a possible explanation for the title character vanishing in "Maxine".
  • All There in the Manual/Alter-Ego Acting/Back Story: The Liner Notes and peripheral materials describe the group as members of some ancient clan of nomadic musicians, and give each member a Wilbury family name; a different one on each album. The group is apparently made up of half-brothers, all sons of Charles Truscott Wilbury, and different mothers.
  • Anonymous Band/Fake Band: Ostensibly.
  • B-Side: What "Handle With Care" was originally going to be, until the label executives heard it, and decided an album was in order.
  • Bo Diddley Beat: On "Margarita".
  • Cool Old Guy: Up to five of them, depending on the cutoff for "old".
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Played for Laughs in "Where Were You Last Night?"
  • Dance Sensation: "The Wilbury Twist"
  • Dream Team: If you've liked music anytime in the last 50 years, then yes.
  • Empty Chair Memorial: The music video for "End of the Line" cuts to an empty rocking chair with Roy Orbison's guitar lying in it during his stanza, as he had died before shooting the video.
  • The Garfunkel: Jeff Lynne is probably the most difficult to recognize of the group to general audiences, with neither him nor Electric Light Orchestra having quite the pedigree of legendary musicians Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison, and not quite so many hits as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Subverted in that Lynne was arguably one of the masterminds behind the band, along with Harrison; he just has the misfortune of not having as huge of a legacy as his bandmates. Not yet, anyway...
    • Furthermore, while Lynne might not have the same public profile for his own music, behind the scenes he has a strong reputation as a producer.
  • Green Aesop: "The Devil's Been Busy" and possibly "Inside Out".
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: In "Margarita", largely because some of the lyrics appear to be an Indian language (Author Appeal for George Harrison perhaps?)
  • Intercourse with You: "Dirty World", according to Word of God, is an Affectionate Parody of Prince. Which means you get Bob Dylan singing lines like
    You don't need no wax job, you're smooth enough for me
    Oh baby, the pleasure be all mine
    If you let me drive your pickup truck and park it where the sun don't shine
  • Joisey: "Tweeter and the Monkey Man", which also gives us examples of
  • Noodle Implements: "Cool Dry Place" mostly mentions musical machines, with the addition of a few oddities.
    • "Dirty World", too. Most of the items sound like they're taken from a car advert, but there are exceptions.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: Reportedly the insporation for Handle With Care came from Harrison looking over at the markings on a crate used to ship some of the studio equipment.
  • Punny Name: The group's name originates from a piece of banter George Harrison and Jeff Lynne came up with while recording, in reference to mistakes: "We'll burynote  them in the mix."
  • The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: "Last Night"
  • Self-Titled Album: Twice.
  • Special Guest: The Wilburys recorded a version of The Beatles' "I Call Your Name" as a tribute to John Lennon, with Ringo Starr added to the lineup as lead singer.
    • And arguably John Fogerty, who made a live appearance in 1987 alongside George Harrison and Bob Dylan, in a group which bootleggers often refer to as "The Silver Wilburys". Strictly a Fan Nickname, though, as the real Wilburys weren't formed until 1988 (and the other Wilburys sans George and Dylan weren't present for this event anyway).
  • Super Group: Big time. It's hard to imagine a more super group even being possible.
  • Un Installment: The two albums released by the Wilburys were titled The Traveling Wilburys Volume 1 and The Traveling Wilburys Volume 3, respectively. Tom Petty's solo album Full Moon Fever may count as an unofficial ''Volume 2'': Jeff Lynne was the producer for it as for the other two volumes, and some tracks feature contributions from some of the others.
    • There's also a theory that "Volume 2" is What Could Have Been if not for Orbison's death, a missing episode that was deliberately omitted as a sign of respect for Roy.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/TheTravelingWilburys