Handle With Care

Happy TUNEBACK TUESDAY!! Over the weekend I was watching an old home video of Christmas 1988. In the video, my Dad was playing the first album by the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys (George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Jeff Lynne) in the background. I forgot how fantastic that album was and quickly decided to buy it on iTunes. So today I’m tuning it back to their most successful single, “Handle With Care”.

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: October 17, 1988

TRIVIA: 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 depicts a conversation between a man and his new found love wherein he is recounting life’s experiences which have affected him, contributed to his loneliness, and his plea to his love to “handle me with care” because of all the things he had been through.

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 re-convened to record the first Wilburys album, which featured “Handle With Care” as the lead track.

The song was the last release and video for group member Roy Orbison prior to his death on December 6, 1988.

See you next Tuesday!!

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