Song of the Day #1,391: ‘Handle With Care’ – Traveling Wilburys

Best Albums of the 80s – #13
Vol. 1 – Traveling Wilburys (1988)

As one YouTube poster commented just a week ago, the Traveling Wilburys were “The Avengers of classic rock.”

George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne make sense as friends but not necessarily as band mates. Each brings his own distinctive vocal and writing style to the mix… how could they possibly gel?

Just beautifully, as it turns out. Each member gets his turn on lead vocals but they sound best when harmonizing. The recent album that most reminds me of this one is Pistol Annies’ debut — it has the same sense of comfortable fun, and the same almost accidental brilliance.

I have fond memories of listening to this album while shooting pool with my parents in my childhood homes. It’s not every album that can span generations the way this one did. We listened to either a collection of Pavarotti arias or Traveling Wilburys. Talk about running the gamut.

Orbison died shortly after Vol. 1 was released, and though the band recorded a follow-up (amusingly titled Vol. 3), it wasn’t the same. The chemistry had been altered, or perhaps their hearts just weren’t in it. You can only capture lightning in a bottle once, and on this album they certainly did that.

Been beat up and battered ’round
Been sent up, and I’ve been shot down
You’re the best thing that I’ve ever found
Handle me with care

Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable
Baby, you’re adorable
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been fobbed off, and I’ve been fooled
I’ve been robbed and ridiculed
In day care centers and night schools
Handle me with care

Been stuck in airports, terrorized
Sent to meetings, hypnotized
Overexposed, commercialized
Handle me with care

I’m so tired of being lonely
I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
Put your body next to mine, and dream on

I’ve been uptight and made a mess
But I’ll clean it up myself, I guess
Oh, the sweet smell of success
Handle me with care

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5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,391: ‘Handle With Care’ – Traveling Wilburys

  1. Dana says:

    Well, certainly Pistol Annies doesn’t boast the legendary star power of the Wilbury’s.:)

    This album is as comfortable to me as an old pair of sneakers. I remember those days playing pool at your house with this album on in the background. Thankfully, I was spared the Pavoratti, though I was not spared the Sinatra “Jingle Bells” :)

  2. pegclifton says:

    I love love love this album. I think we’ve played this more than any other we own. I too thought of the pool shooting days immediately and how this music was a perfect fit. It’s great to dance to as well! Great way to start the day :)

  3. pegclifton says:

    and Dana if you visit during the Christmas holiday season, you will hear “jingle bells” otherwise you’re safe ;)

  4. Shawn says:

    And the album really did wonders for Dylan’s career, which was running on empty at the time, or so it seemed. But its occurred to me the money might’ve been rolling in quicker and easier than ever at the time and maybe this had an effect. It’s true about the crossover appeal of the album. My dad hadn’t been into Dylan for a couple of decades and I was only into him on my own terms for a few years, but after he heard this Wilbury’s CD he had to have a copy. And I do believe it was mine.

  5. Amy says:

    :) Music that can appeal to such a wide variety of tastes and ages is the best music there is. This album exemplifies it. And oh how I love Tom Petty. Just sayin’

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