How Tom Petty Joined George Harrison’s Band Accidentally

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Traveling Wilburys supergroup harbored many of the iconic musicians well-known in today’s music world. The band included The Beatles’ George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and last but not least, Tom Petty. After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, its members ventured off to their solo careers, and over a decade later, George Harrison formed the Traveling Wilburys.

The band’s career lasted only three years after forming a group was discussed in a recording session of Harrison’s 1987 album ‘Cloud Nine’ with Jeff Lynne. The duo put their plan into action less than a year later. Much like its initial birth, a member joined the band with an unexpected incident. That member is Tom Perry, who coincidentally jammed with the band, leading to his tenure with them.

How Did Tom Petty Get To Be In Traveling Wilburys?

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Harrison and Petty were friends who jammed together, including Bob Dylan. During one of these sessions, Harrison forgot one of his guitars in Petty’s house and had to return to retrieve it. Once he went to the house, he randomly asked Petty if he would like to join his recording sessions, to which Petty agreed. Following that recording session, the musician was asked to join the band as a member.

Even though the band reached a fair amount of success with their two albums, they never went on a tour. However, the whole experience was natural and excellent for Petty, and he was more than happy that he was included. During an old interview with Classic Rock, he mentioned that the band was just friends coming together instead of a planned project.

Petty’s statement about the band goes:

“A lot of people think that the Traveling Wilburys were united because it was a good idea, but really we were pals and hanging out long before the Wilburys.”

The Traveling Wilburys recorded an album together in 1988 and another in 1990 before they disbanded. Their single ‘Handle with Care’ became a huge hit, but their success was shadowed by a tragedy related to Roy Orbison. He passed away from a heart attack two months after the release of their debut album. The supergroup continued with four members after his death until they split in 1991.

You can listen to their hit single below.