"Starting at a meal among Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne, the group came together at Bob Dylan's home studio inMalibu, California, to record an additional track as a B-side for the single release of Harrison's "This Is Love". Tom Petty's involvement came by chance as Harrison had left his guitar at Petty's house. The record label, however, decided that the song that resulted, "Handle with Care", was too good to be released as a "single filler".
The members enjoyed working together so much that they decided to create a full album together. Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, written by all the members, was recorded over a ten-day period in May 1988, and released on October 18. The "Wilburys" joke was extended further, with the band members credited under various pseudonyms, all sons of a fictional Charles Truscott Wilbury, Sr. and half brothers. The album was a critical and commercial success, spawning several successful singles and eventually reaching triple-platinum sales status in the US. The album was nominated for several awards and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group in 1989.
Roy Orbison's death on December 6, 1988, brought the end of the original lineup. In tribute to Orbison, during the music video for "End of the Line", when Orbison sings, his photo is shown followed by a shot of his guitar in a rocking chair."
The Traveling Wilburys of Volume 1 were:
- Nelson Wilbury - George Harrison
- Otis Wilbury - Jeff Lynne
- Lefty Wilbury - Roy Orbison
- Charlie T. Wilbury Jr. - Tom Petty
- Lucky Wilbury - Bob Dylan
The Traveling Wilburys of Volume 3 were:
- Spike Wilbury - George Harrison
- Clayton Wilbury - Jeff Lynne
- Muddy Wilbury - Tom Petty
- Boo Wilbury - Bob Dylan