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- Posted on Mar 31st 2010 5:00PM by Nicholas White
"The main thing is a sense of loss of George [Harrison] and Roy [Orbison]," Lynne, 62, tells Spinner of looking at the photos. "Those were the two great losses to me personally because they were both great friends of mine, as well as being fantastic musicians and singers."
The Traveling Wilburys had arguably the best-known rock lineup in pop music history: Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Electric Light Orchestra's Lynne, Orbison and Harrison. Fans who want one of the hardcover books should be willing to look around or pay at least £225 (around $340 US) for it: there are only 3,000 of them, and each is signed by Lynne.
Encased in a cloth box, the 144-page book has numerous colorful photos of the iconic band recording in a Beverly Hills mansion. Folded in are hand-glued note-like schedules, sketches, hand-written lyric sheets, cover artwork and interviews that shed light on the group's artistic process. "What didn't come across in the music was a sense of awe. I see Roy Oribson across the mic, and I go, 'This is really happening,'" Lynne says.
"Hopefully it brings out the diversity and the unity [of the band] all at once," Lynne says of the the book. "Everyone comes from such amazing different places and we all ended up as a unit, which was a very unusual thing." Lynne, a producer who worked on Harrison's final album and co-produced Petty's iconic 1989 LP, 'Full Moon Fever,' is credited with coining the group's name with Harrison, which started with the Beatle saying their instruments "will be buried" in the mix. Lynne added the "Traveling."
As for a 2010-era Wilburys reunion, don't count on it.
"We have never talked about it," Lynne says. "We look at that piece as a nice historic period, and I think it should stay that way. I love the memory of it. I loved doing it. It was some of the most fun I had in life, I would say. I would like to leave it at that and that book about sums it up."
Started over lunch at Dylan's house, the group began with a song that unexpectedly became a single, 'Handle With Care.' That blossomed into 1988's hit 'The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1,' which sold three million copies and won Best Rock Group Performance Grammy in 1989. Orbison's death in December 1988 -- just months after the first album's release -- shook up the lineup, which released the 'The Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3' (the number is intentionally incorrect) in 1990.
The book's pictures, which include the band's only two photo shoots, show the Wilburys clowning around and hard at work. "We had a lot of people who enjoyed taking pictures," Lynne recalls. "Even George himself took a lot of footage and photographs, movies as well. There was a lot of coverage but not from an official source. Just whenever it happened, it happened."
Lynne credits the new book to Harrison's widow, Olivia, who he describes as "the keeper of all things Wilbury." Lynne wrote the book's foreword, talking about the group's start and recording process: "Sometimes I like to think about those days. It's the most fun you could have without getting in trouble."
In the digital download world 2010, when album artwork may not play a factor in a fan's musical experience, the Traveling Wilburys book is an anachronism, heavy on the handmade artistry feel, conjuring up the album experience of older decades. "No computers, all done by hand," the book's opening page reads.
Asked about his new preferences, Lynne says he is a fan of the Killers but didn't mention any other artists. He does reveal he's getting music tips from his daughters, Laura and Stephanie, and that never-ending source of new music, iTunes.
"Old music is the same as new music -- it's just a different way of delivering it. There is some that I like and some that I don't really know about yet," Lynne says. "If it's an ordinary song, it's still ordinary, however much [paint] you put on it or wrap around it. It's always been the same, really."
'The Traveling Wilburys' is available from Genesis Publications.