Jeff Lynne Was Essential to Traveling Wilburys’ Hit Sounds

From his production work on Harrison’s “Cloud Nine” in ’87 to his production duties on Tom Petty’s ’06 solo album, “Highway Companion,” Lynne spent almost 20 years as producer as well as an essential writing and performing component of a free-floating collective of music legends known in aggregate as the Traveling Wilburys and as solo artists as Harrison, Lynne, Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison.

The triple-platinum “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1” in 1988 was deemed a “low-key masterpiece” by Rolling Stone at the time and has only grown in stature over the decades. Hot on the heels of that success, Lynne helped Petty and Mike Campbell produce an even bigger hit in 1989, Petty’s first solo album, “Full Moon Fever,” which went 6x platinum and yielded not just several hit singles, but lasting classics such as “Free Fallin’” and “I Won’t Back Down.”

That same year, producer Lynne hit the charts with another “Wilbury” solo project, which was the bittersweet success story of Orbison’s final studio album, the multi-platinum-seller “Mystery Girl,” released posthumously on the heels of Orbison’s untimely death at age 52 in December 1988. Orbison reportedly considered Lynne “the best producer I ever worked with,” a monumental tribute from an artist who created some of the towering achievements of American rock ’n’ roll.

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