A-to-Z Challenge 2023 – T is for Traveling Wilburys – Resilience in Songs #atozchallenge #songs

The 2023 A-to-Z blogging challenge theme is resilience. Resilience is the ability to get back on our feet and keep going after life knocks us down and kicks sand in our faces. Resilience is how the psyche survives and copes, but resilience doesn’t necessarily wear a cape of positivity.

The 26 songs I’ve chosen show us, musically, what resilience looks (sounds?) like. I’ll offer a reflection of the resilience in each song. The songs are alphabetical by the artist’s first name or the group’s name, except for M, O, U, and X.

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter T

T is for Traveling Wilburys and Handle with Care.

The five members of the Traveling Wilburys were George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, and Bob Dylan. George Harrison provided the kernel of lyrics and music, then the five ‘Wilburys’ collaborated to write the song. Handle with Care was the first song released by the Traveling Wilburys. It was recorded in Bob Dylan’s home studio in the spring of 1988, and then released as a single on October 17, 1988. Plans for many, many more songs by the group didn’t materialze, because Roy Orbison died of a heart attack about seven weeks later on December 6th.

a red piece of luggage with a sticker on itI call this an ‘every person’ song. So many lines are relatable. Who hasn’t been…

Beat up and battered ’round
Sent to meetings, hypnotized
Stuck in airports, terrorized
Uptight and made a mess
Fobbed off, and been fooled

Who hasn’t been or isn’t…

Tired of being lonely


I still have some love to give
Won’t you show me that you really care?

We nod and smile at these sentiments, because we’ll all been there at some point.

The resilience in this song is that the singer hasn’t given up on love and, more importantly, even though he’s been raked over the coals of life, admittedly sometimes by his own doing, he says…

I’ll clean up myself, I guess

He hasn’t lost his faith in love, and he really wants to trust his heart that he’s found someone to return his love.

Everybody’s got somebody to lean on
You’re the best thing that I’ve ever found
Baby, you’re adorable

But, there’s a caveat that he’s right up front about, because his emotional resilience is fragile, just like a package or letter used to be stamped Handle with Care, which was an indication that the contents were fragile and needed special attention. The singer’s resilience is damaged through self-neglect, life’s hard knocks, and heartaches, but he’s still strong enough inside to love again as long as the other person will…

Handle me with care

We feel pretty good at the end of this song.

Aside: Roy Orbison singing the ‘lonely’ lines adds the ahh factor to this song.

*Handle with Care image by Bao Menglong at Upsplash

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
writing through history one romance upon a time


  1. This came out just as my first marriage was falling apart. The Traveling Wilbury’s played a part of my resilience during that time.

  2. This is a great song, and as you mention Roy Orbison’s passing really adds context to the song. A perfect selection for the theme

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