90s Music/Traveling Wilburys


what can you tell me about the "The Traveling Wilburys Curse"  concerning the deaths of
Roy Orbison and Del Shannon.  And the fact that the  band was not  able to find  anybody to take the place of Roy or Del.  Del was going to take Roy's place just before he died.  Thanks for your time and trouble.

P.S.  Are any of you able to do any local or regional research ?

Hi Jane,

I'm a huge fan of the Beatles, including George's post-Beatles career; but, I've never heard of a "Traveling Wilbury Curse".  While I can see where the deaths of Roy Orbison and Del Shannon (and later Harrison may spark this debate), I myself do not consider it valid. My main argument is that Shannon was never a Wilbury. Following Roy Orbison's death in 1988 shortly after the release of The Traveling Wilburys Vol 1, Del Shannon was only rumored to be a replacement for Orbison; he was never invited to join the band. This rumor was started following Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty co-writing a song with Del Shannon that was eventually released in a posthumous Del Shannon album in 1991.

More evidence that Shannon's consideration for the Wilburys was only public speculation comes from this quote of Harrison's after Orbison's death: `You can't really replace somebody like Roy. As far as another member goes, I don't think it's that important. If some magic little thing happens, maybe there will be somebody. You could really have any number of Wilburys. The basic idea is attitude. For now, it's just us four.'

So, my opinion is that there was never any true attempt to replace Roy Orbison because of the Wilburys respect for his greatness. And since George Harrison died in 2001, more than ten years after the second and final Wilburys album in 1990, and the remaining members (Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne) are still with us, we're really only left with Roy Orbison's death to consider a case for a "Wilbury curse".

Regarding your P.S., I'm in Texas, so any local/region research would be based solely on my ability to pull it from the Internet. That said, I could give it a go.


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Erick Byrd


I can answer all questions related to hit songs and pop artists of the rock and roll era. My specialty is U.S. Billboard Top 40 chart history and one hit wonders from 1950's through the 90's. I can also research lyrics to songs. I am more knowledgeable in the area of pop and rock songs, but I am willing to research soul and country songs. I cannot answer questions relating to classical, jazz, or rap songs. Also, I'm not an expert on music videos.


I am an avid reader of Joel Whitburn Top 40 books and a collector of all pop and rock hit songs.

My educational credentials include a college degree in history and over twenty-five years of life experience as a fan of popular music.

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