Handle With Care

Album: Volume One (1988)
Charted: 21 45


  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ricardo - Mexico
  • Petty explained to Mojo magazine January 2010 what it was like co-writing a song with Bob Dylan. Said Petty: "There's nobody I've ever met who knows more about the craft of how to put a song together than he does. I learned so much from just watching him work. He has an artist's mind and can find in a line the key word and think how to embellish it to bring the line out. I had never written more words than I needed, but he tended to write lots and lots of verses, then he'll say, this verse is better than that, or this line. Slowly this great picture emerges. He was very good in The Traveling Wilbur's: when somebody had a line, he could make it a lot better in big ways."
  • The title "Handle With Care" came offhand when George Harrison saw the phrase on the side of a cardboard box in the studio.
  • Tom Petty's Heartbreakers bandmate Mike Campbell was originally asked to play the guitar part on "Handle With Care" that George Harrison eventually performed. He recalled to Uncut magazine:

    "They didn't have the slide intro. I setup my amp, and Tom, Jeff and George are there. I'm trying my best, but I thought, 'Oh my gosh, I'm playing the guitar in front of a Beatle!' I played pretty good but I said, 'I really think George would be better on this, his fill would be much sweeter.' So he used my amp and I handed him my guitar. He came up with that beautiful guitar part."

Comments: 39

  • Helen from N. Lanarkshire ScotlandDave from E Brookfield MA.....I believe it was Bob Dylan playing the harmonica.
  • Eb from Fl KeysI was about 20 years old when this song came out. I liked well enough then. I’m 50-ish now, and I feel this song. Such a great depiction of middle-to-older age life, with a twinkle in the eye even in the world weariness.
  • Shelly from Ireland5 legends, no egos apparent here, looks to me just pure appreciation for each others talent and contribution to music that will forever be with us xx
  • Don from Willoughby, OhioRIP Tom Petty. He now joins Roy and George in Rock in Roll Heaven. 10/2/2017
  • Don from Willoughby, OhIt brings a tear to my eyes that two of these great voices are no longer with us.
  • Molly from Niagara Falls, NyRe Jeff Lynne being the odd man out, are you familiar with ELO? He's prolly better known than you'd think. ~.^
  • Gino from Caracas, VenezuelaIn the beginning Tom Petty wasn't in the plans. The other four musicians were in Bob Dilan's home at LA when they decided participate on the tune that George Harrison had been already working on, but (as often) he didn't have a title. I think was Jeff Lynne who asked their friends to pass by Petty's house to pick up his guitar. When Tom saw the group, he joined instantly and the five went to the studio to record this fantastic song.
  • Joe from Grants Pass, OrDylan on harp
  • Joe from Grants Pass, OrFor one thing, You may not like ELO, But Jeff Lynne did a whole-lotta stuff For McCartney Also ( and don't forget FRIENDSHIP ) DUUUHHHHHH !!!!!!!!!!
  • Scott from Sydney, AustraliaWhy do Bob and Tom get so much of the vocals on most Wilburys songs? And before you kill me, Bob Dylan is my favourite artist ever, and Tom Petty is also up there. I just mean that, when you have such a beautifully pure voice as George Harrison's and possibly the greatest rock n roll voice in Roy Oribison, why would you give most of the vocals to Bob and Tom?
  • Mark from Pine Hall, Ncwhat a great song
  • Brady from Niagara Falls, NyOne of those Rock songs that you hate to hear end. Sounds like they all got together and said let's define ROCK & ROLL
  • Pete from Nowra, Australia5 mates getting together and having fun
  • Pat from Albuquerque, Nm"The Traveling Wilburys" is a great CD. there are no bad songs. Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty--perfect. Too bad Roy died shortly after they hit the charts.
    G of Potomac MD: Jeff Lynne was the producer as well as a musician, and did a heck of a job.
  • John from Grand Island, NyThe combined talent in this group of men is mind boggling. I include drummer Jimmy Keltner as well. He is an often an overlooked member of this wonderful little band.
  • Helbs from Liverpool, AustriaAmazing song: beat, vocals, everything!
  • Jfv from Philadelphia, PaIn addition to being a very talented musician, Jeff Lynne is also considered a master song producer. Lynne has produced records for many well known artists, including George Harrison and Tom Petty. In fact, the work he has done with Tom Petty has received rave reviews from critics as well as Petty himself and several of the Heartbreakers. His trademark is to start with a rough demo of a song and to add all of the vocals and instrumentation in a piecemeal fashion, one after another. The band typically does not ever actually play the song together. Although the results are usually outstanding, bands that are used to jamming together when they record often find it to be a very difficult transition. Some of the other members of the Heartbreakers never got comfortable with the approach. Nevertheless, the results speak for themselves since records produced by Lynne have a great sound and ambiance to them. Although he has never been a critically acclaimed vocalist, his vocals on several of the Wilburys songs are top notch and fit the Wiburys style and sound quite well.
  • Robin from Plattsburgh, NyG, Potomac, MD seems to think that jeff lynn is not worthy of this group, apparently you have no clue exactly who he is. you should probably google him or something cause you missed out....
  • Allen from Chicago, IlDel Shannon was going to rplace Orbison on the second LP but died before recording started.
  • Dave from E. Brookfield, Maanyone know if it was Orbison or Dylan who played the harmonica at the end of the song? and for a little in the middle...
  • G from Potomac, MdWhich does not belong:
    Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and... Jeff Lynne? 4 out of 5 ain't bad
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThe story that George called the song "Handle With Care" because of a note he saw on a instrument packing case is true. He had all of the song written except for the last line of the verses, and when he saw that, he had his title.
  • Chinchu from Guayaquil, South AmericaGreat song!!! One of my favorites for sure...
  • Jeff from Liverpool, Englandprobably the finest collection of stars to record in the studio (not including charity groups) who did'nt have the success, singles wise in the u.k. as they probably deserved
  • Randy from Rio De Janeiro, BrazilThe name of the group comes from a humorous comment one of the members made about a mistake that was made during recording: "We'll bury (Wilbury) it in the mix!"
  • Kevin Witt from Haymarket, VaThe talent in this group is mind boggling.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaNow I can here their voices. I thought this was one of those country-rock 70's groups that weren't very big. Boy was I wrong
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumSorry Teri, I didn't know Bob Dylan was also a member of the group but as he was a good friend of George Harrison it's not amazing. A supersong from a supergroup, I love it so much.
  • Teri from Chicago, IlHere are their nicknames as follows;
    George Harrison is 'Nelson Wilbury'
    Jeff lynne is 'Otis Wilbury'
    Roy Orbison is 'Lefty Wilbury'
    Bob Dylan is 'Lucky Wilbury'
    Tom Petty is 'Charlie T.Wilbury Jr.'
  • Teri from Chicago, IlHey Teresa, you forgot Bob Dylan!!
    I also heard they were each assigned 'Wilbury nick names'. I'll find out and re-post.
  • Teri from Chicago, IlSong Title; Correct me if I'm wrong... I heard that Harrison was just looking around Dylan's garage when he saw a cardboard box with a sticker on it that said 'Handle with Care' That became the basis for the song lyrically and for the title as well.
    Later for now...
  • Kristina from Albuquerque, NmSince George is singing lead, "Stuck in airports, terrorized" probably refers to when the Beatles were stuck in the Phillipines and terrorized at the airport. It was 1966, I believe, and they practically had to escape from the Manila airport. And of course George felt "overexposed, commercialized" by the whole Beatle experience.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumIt's true, really like this song song song song song song very much.
  • Tyler from Hamilton, CanadaAndy, it's actually Scott Thurston that sings the Roy Orbison part.
  • Mark from Wee Waa, AustraliaTeresa, Mechelen, Belgium you really like this song song song song song
  • Alan from Singapore, SingaporeThe video of the song shows all of them singing in some deserted warehouse, all gathered round a microphone suspended from the ceiling. When each of them sing, photos of each of them as kids flash on the screen.
  • Andy from Arlington, VaI saw Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers in concert last year, and was pleasantly surprised when they played this song, with Petty singing the Harrison part and Benmont Tench singing the Orbison part. I never thought I'd get to hear this tune live.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumThe Traveling Wilburys : George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty singing together, an everlasting beauty.
  • Simmy from Ottawa, Canadathe travelling wilburys should definitely be more famous for how amazing they are. this song rocks
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