Three Unknown Songs Composed by Bob Dylan for the Traveling Wilburys

The first thing that springs to mind when music enthusiasts think of Bob Dylan is his impressive body of solo work. However, Dylan’s multiyear period during which he partied with some of the biggest performers in the world should not be overlooked. He was a member of the Traveling Wilburys, a supergroup of rock giants that comprised Jeff Lynne, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty, from 1988 until 1991. Here are three songs that Dylan co-wrote for the well-known supergroup.
1. “The Monkey Man and Tweeter”
Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne wrote the song.

This song, which is taken from the 1988 debut album Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1, was mostly written by Dylan, with significant contributions from Petty as well. It is also credited to each member of the band, much like all the songs on their debut LP. In “Tweeter and the Monkey Man,” Dylan takes the lead vocals, presumably paying homage to one of his musical “children,” Bruce Springsteen. The song is set in Bruce Springsteen’s home state of New Jersey and features song titles. Within, Dylan provides,
Tweeter and the Monkey Man
Were hard up for cash
They stayed up all night
Selling cocaine and hash
To an undercover cop
Who had a sister named Jan
For reasons unexplained
She loved the Monkey Man
Tweeter was a Boy Scout
Before she went to Vietnam
And found out the hard way
Nobody gives a damn
They knew that they’d find freedom
Just across the Jersey Line
So, they hopped into a stolen car
Took Highway 99

2. The “Twilight Zone”
This song, which is from the group’s 1990 sophomore album Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3, is reminiscent of the early days of rock & roll, when the dance was just as significant as the song. The late comedic actor John Candy makes a brief appearance in the song video, which you can view here. Dylan sings in the song, which is ascribed to all of the band members:

It’s a different dance (it’s a different dance)
For you all to do (for you all to do)
Spin your body (very versatile)
Like a screw (spin your body like a screw)
Better not forget on your shopping list
(You can stop and buy one, it’s the Wilbury Twist)

3. “Moving Towards the Light”
Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne wrote the song.

George Harrison, the de facto leader of the band, was the driving force behind this song, which is from Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1. But Harrison’s first preference for a supergroup bandmate was Dylan. And despite the fact that it didn’t seem possible, Dylan did join up because of his friendship with the ex-Beatle. This song, which is all about choosing the correct spiritual path, is ascribed to all of the Wilburys as writers. (Harrison seemed to be constantly thinking about enlightenment in the Buddhist sense.) Harrison sings the song while Dylan strums the acoustic guitar.
I’ve wandered around with nothing more than time on my hands
I was lost in the night with no sight of you
And at times it was so blue and lonely
Heading for the light

Been close to the edge, hanging by my fingernails
I roll and I tumble through the roses and the thorns
And I couldn’t see the sun that warned me
Heading for the light

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