The Petty Archives

Records: Wilburys truly a super group
Review by Terry Higgins
The Milwaukee Sentinel - December 16, 1988

It's a sad fact of life that what passes for a supergroup in the 1980s leaves something to be desired. Where we once thrilled to the sounds of Cream and the Yardbirds, we know have to settle for Asia, GTR and the Firm.

Restrictive contracts, and superstar egos, have conspired to limit joint efforts by our top stars. Sure, we still get the occasional duet or guest shot on an album, but the true supergroup, a full collaboration of musical giants, is a rare commodity.

Fortunately, the Traveling Wilburys have surfaced to remind us of the good old days. "Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1" (Wilbury Records) is a masterful collaboration of Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, the late Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison. This lineup, which began as a lark to knock out a quick B-side, instead has produced a witty, rocking record.

  • 1989-01-13_The-Straits-Times

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Next Stop: Adventure
The Straits Times - January 13, 1989

The Travelling Wilburys are going places. Roy Orbison has already gone to the happy strumming grounds in the sky. But the living Wilburys -- Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Pop Dylan and George Harrison -- have decided to head for movieland.

Not content with a mere video to promote their debut album, Harrison has pulled out his director's chair at his own Handmade Films.

He is all ready to start work on the Wilburys' film -- an adventure flick. But what adventures can a bunch of ageing rockers get up to?

Travelling Wilburys sell a lot of records
By Andy Warren
The Chronicle - January 23, 1989

Super group's debut album sells big with well-rounded artistic release
For such a new group, The Travelling Wilburys sure are selling a ton of their self-named album. Sam the Record Man in Oshawa was completely sold out of their debut recording last month.

If you do find the album and see the cover, you might think these five guys look familiar. Listening to it, you'll discover that Lucky Wilbury is actually Bob Dylan, and Lefty Wilbury is none other than Tom Petty. Those three other guys disguised in sunglasses are Roy Orbison, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne. Definitely a fine collection of songwriters and musicians.

When word got out that these lads were all collaborating on an LP, critics surmised it was the big record company executives who were trying to harvest yet some more money. That may be so, but these musicians do not need money. one listen to this album and its obvious these give are in it for the sheer fun of making music. And what music it is.

A Real 'Supergroup'
by Robb Frederick
The Daily Collegian - January 25, 1989

The Traveling Wilburys | ★★★★
Throughout the history of rock music, several attempts have been made to create the ideal 'supergroup,' but few efforts have resulted in a band deserving of the label.

The formation of Blind Faith, a powerhouse group containing Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, gave music fans of the '60s a brief view of a 'supergroup,' but personality conflicts ended the band's short reign.

Another attempt was made during 1985, when Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page joined Paul Rodgers, the vocalist for Bad Company, and two studio musicians gathered to create The Firm. Although The Firm offered stimulating collaborations, the group was not well received by the public, and disbanded after two albums.

The latest attempt of 'supergroup' formation, The Traveling Wilburys, offers a combined effort by five prominent musical pioneers. Success at last.

  • 1989-03-28_The-Milwaukee-Journal

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Petty sings solo
The Milwaukee Journal - March 28, 1989

Tom Petty's much-anticipated, first solo album "Full Moon Fever," finally hits the stores April 24. Most of the 12 songs on the disc were recorded early last year -- before Petty joined George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne to make the hit "Traveling Wilburys" LP. But some of the Wilburys also participate on "Full Moon" -- Harrison plays guitar and sings background vocals on "I Won't Back Down," the first single to b released from "Full Moon," and the late Orbison recorded some of the vocals on the "Zombie Zoo" track before his death. Petty denies rumors that his solo disc means a split from his Heartbreakers group -- he and the Heartbreakers are working on a new album, and he's hinting that he and the Heartbreakers will go on tour together this summer.

Ringo is 'Petty' good Drummer
Lodi News-Sentinel - March 31, 1989

The video for Tom Petty's new single, "I Won't Back Down," features half of the Beatles. Petty was in a London studio this week filming with a couple of his friends from the Traveling Wilburys, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne, and Mike Campbell, who plays with Petty in the Heartbreakers, but they didn't have a drummer for the video. Then someone thought of Ringo Starr, who will be seen drumming in the video even though he doesn't really play on the song.

Off the Cuff
By Sam Jones
The Daily Titan - Thursday, April 13, 1989

Tom Petty has an album due out by the end of April. The video for the first single, "I Won't Back Down," stars Petty's longtime friends, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Petty Laughs Last on 'Full Moon Fever'
By Chris Willman
The Los Angeles Times - April 23, 1989

On his own, the Wilbury delivers sad stories, ridiculous detail
TOM PETTY | "Full Moon Fever." | MCA | ★★★
Here it is, folks: "The Traveling Wilburys, Volume Two." (a.k.a. Tom Petty's first so-called solo album, sans the full-time support of his Heartbreakers.) It's not so much the cast--though Jeff Lynne carries a quite audible presence as co-producer, and both George Harrison and the late Roy Orbison show up among the support crew--as the attitude.

Petty contributed the jokiest material to the Wilburys' already wit-riddled platter, and "Full Moon Fever" is similarly, subtly light of lyric. Not to imply that Petty has turned class clown on us; only to reinforce that here he carries on the Travelers' trenchant penchant for telling a sad story with ridiculously trivial bits of detail.

The ironic, bittersweet opening track, "Free Fallin'," is a most telling tale as Petty doth protest too much about how he doesn't miss the sweet young thing he deserted back in Reseda. "All the vampires walkin' through the Valley / Move west down Ventura Boulevard," he sings, and as he gets to that last phrase, a lush Lynne chorale of voices comes in to intone the name of that street of dreams, as if reinforcing an essential detail in a mythic country-Western song.

The rest of this free-form collection is nearly as nifty, from the first single, "I Won't Back Down" (similar to the Heartbreakers' halting, synth-heavy "You Got Lucky"), to the knock-off version of the Byrds' "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better," to the closing "Zombie Zoo" (a tribute to pale-faced trendiness). You'll find far less experimentation here than on, say, "Southern Accents," but Petty didn't make this album to break ground. He just wants to kick up a little dirt.

  • 1989-04-25_The-Milwaukee-Journal

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Soundings: When Petty goes it alone, be brings plenty of company
By Thor Christensen
The Milwaukee Journal -- Tuesday, April 25, 1989

Most bandleaders who decide to make a solo album wouldn't think of hiring their group to play on tt. It kind of defeats the purpose.

But that's the strange route Tom Petty takes on his maiden solo effort, "Full Moon Fever." Oddly enough, the trick works.

Relying heavily on Heartbreakers lead guitarist Mike Campbell (with cameos from band mates Benmont Tench and Howie Epstein), Petty keeps "Full Moon Fever" within the general parameters of the Heartbreakers sound. But by calling it a solo album, Petty gets to stretch out, and the results are more loose and playful than the Heartbreakers' recent LPs. "Full Moon Fever" is like "The Traveling Wilburys Vol. One," only better. Fellow Wilbury Jeff Lynne plays a big role here, producing the album, co-writing five songs, playing guitars and keyboards, and singing. Like all records Lynne produces, "Full Moon Fever" winds up sounding a bit like Electric Light Orchestra, chock full of dreamy keyboards and precise acoustic guitars bouncing against colorless drums. But even Lynne's slick production can't squelch Petty's roaming spirit.