"Handle With Care" - Traveling Wilburys
from the album The Traveling Wilburys, Vol. 1 (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #45
This week's "robbed hit" comes from the Traveling Wilburys, a rock "supergroup" of tremendous proportions, who coalesced after ELO frontman Jeff Lynne produced George Harrison's Cloud Nine album, which had brought the former Beatle back to the top of the charts with "Got My Mind Set On You". With Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison, they recorded a song originally meant as a Harrison single B-side. But instead, not only was the result worthy of its own release, the five recorded an entire album, assuming the identities as "brothers". George, aka "Nelson Wilbury", sang most of the lead on "Handle With Care", but each A-lister got a turn in this democratic record...
While "Handle With Care" spent two weeks at #2 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock radio chart, the single stopped short of the pop top-40 at #45 in December of 1988. The song also crossed over to #30 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") chart. The album would go on to win the Grammy for Best Rock Performance by a Duo/Group in 1990.
Their Traveling Wilburys Vol 1 album would go on to sell over three million copies, and four of its tracks would make the top-10 on the rock chart, including a second, "End Of The Line", that also made the pop (#63) and adult contemporary (#28) lists. But by that time in 1989 Orbison had passed away. In 1990, the remaining four members released a second album, hilariously titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, and reached #2 on the rock chart for the third time with "She's My Baby". They would continue to work together on each others' solo efforts, but that saw the last (so-far) of the Wilburys.
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For George's memorial concert in 2002, Petty and Lynne reunited with Harrison's son Dhani to perform "Handle With Care"...