The-Traveling-Wilburys

“I hope there will be another Wilburys record. It was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done. I was doing it with people I admired and respected, and the public liked it too. I just have to wait for the other Wilburys to finish being solo artists. They have all said they would like to do it again. I don’t really have a desire to be a solo artist. It’s more fun being in the Wilburys. They represent a stand against this horrible computerized music.”

–George Harrison, July 1989

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When Roy Orbison died of a heart attack in ‘88, his bandmates looked around for a replacement and decided on…Elvis. “We talked to his estate,” recalled George. “They loved the idea of Elvis being in the Wilburys, so they gave us the rights to a song. The idea was to put Elvis onto a multitrack machine and take away the backing. We’d all sing this song and when it came to the chorus, we’d bring up the voice of 'Aaron Wilbury.’ We were going to do that, but we never did because at that point I thought it seemed a bit too gimmicky. I was talking to Yoko, however, and telling her this idea, and she said, 'I think I’ve got a tape of John.’ and I said, 'We’ll do it with John and make a new song.’ So later she dug around and brought this tape, and, really, that’s how it got done.”
—  George Harrison on the spark that resulted in Free As a Bird and Real Love getting recorded by the Threetles, TV Guide (1995)
[George] Harrison had a different talent, an extraordinary talent. Harrison never played a wrong note, and never played a note that wasn’t necessary. Every single note he ever played made the song better.
—  Mark Edwards, The Sunday Times, 21 June 2009
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Roy Orbison with The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers in May 1963, and with The Traveling Wilburys in 1988

Photos: Harry Hammond (1);  Neal Preston, Gered Mankowitz or Chris Smith (2)

“When Roy came off-stage, George got on his knees. He was really funny. He then said, ‘We want to have a band and we want to have you in it. Will you do it?’ And Roy said yes.” - Barbara Orbison on how George Harrison and Jeff Lynne asked Roy to join The Traveling Wilburys, Express, 23 May 2007

“Even right up to when he died he was a killer, because of his songs, and he had the most incredible voice. He’d had so many hit songs and people could sit and listen to him all night. He didn’t have to do anything, he didn’t have to wiggle his legs, in fact he never even twitched, he was like marble. The only things that moved were his lips - even when he hit those high notes he never strained. He was quite a miracle, unique.” - George Harrison on Roy Orbison, The Beatles Anthology