Handle With Care – The Traveling Wilburys

THIS DAY IN MUSIC…………………………………on April 3rd of 1988 The Traveling Wilburys record “Handle With Care” in Malibu, Florida. This was the first single released by The Traveling Wilburys, who were a supergroup created by George Harrison and Jeff Lynne. Initially an informal grouping with Roy Orbison and Tom Petty, they got together at Bob Dylan’s Santa Monica, California studio to quickly record an additional track as a B-side for the single release of Harrison’s song “This is Love.” This was the song they came up with, which the record company immediately realized was too good to be released as a single “Filler.” They also recorded “You Got It” at the session, which helped convince them to record an album together. The song was originally intended as the B-side of Harrison’s “This Is Love“. Harrison had not yet written a song for the B-side when an impromptu gathering of the musicians who became the Wilburys turned into an informal songwriting and jam session. Casting about for a song idea while relaxing in a garden near Bob Dylan’s recording studio, Harrison was inspired when he noticed a box in Dylan’s garage that was labelled “Handle with Care”. The box also inspired the opening line: “been beat up and battered around.” The complete song quickly followed, with different members of the gathering contributing various lines. The group moved to a recording studio and quickly laid down the basic tracks which were later polished by eventual Wilburys producer Jeff Lynne. The song can be about myriad situations one wishes it to be, such as a fragile wounded lover or somebody struggling with hard times that comes with fame, or being uprooted or down and out and lost, or perhaps a lonely outlier- pleading, “handle me with care.Harrison’s record company decided that the song was too good to be released as “filler”. Encouraged by this response and the enjoyable experience of recording together, the group reconvened to record the first Wilburys album, which featured “Handle With Care” as the lead track. The single peaked at number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 2 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, number 21 on the UK Singles Chart.