End of the Line (Traveling Wilburys song)

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"End of the Line"
End of the Line Single.JPG
Single by Traveling Wilburys
from the album Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1
Released23 January 1989
Format7" single, 12" single, 3" CD single, cassette single
GenreFolk rock, country rock
Songwriter(s)Bob Dylan
George Harrison
Jeff Lynne
Roy Orbison
Tom Petty[1]
Producer(s)Otis Wilbury, Nelson Wilbury
Traveling Wilburys singles chronology
"Handle with Care"
"End of the Line"
"Nobody's Child"

"End of the Line" is a song by the British-American supergroup the Traveling Wilburys. Released in October 1988, it was the final track on their debut album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1. It was also issued as the band's second single, in January 1989; the recording features all the Wilburys except Bob Dylan as lead singers: George Harrison, Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison sing the choruses in turn, while Tom Petty sings the verses. The song was mainly written by Harrison and was assigned to his publishing company, Umlaut Corporation.[2] In keeping with the collaborative concept behind the Wilburys project, however, all five members received a songwriting credit.[3]

In the United States, the single peaked at No. 63 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, while peaking at No. 2 on the Album Rock Tracks chart, blocked out the top spot by "Driven Out" by The Fixx and "Working on It" by Chris Rea.

The music video for "End of the Line" was directed by Willy Smax, it was filmed in Los Angeles shortly after Orbison's death in December 1988, and features Dylan's participation.[4] To honour the loss of Orbison, a shot of a guitar sitting in a rocking chair next to a photo of him was used when his vocals are heard.[5]


The song was used over the end credits of the final episode of the British sitcom One Foot in the Grave and the American comedy Parks and Recreation.

"End of the Line" appeared in the George Harrison-produced cult comedy Checking Out.

A version sung by Dennis Waterman was used as the theme tune for the pilot of the BBC production New Tricks; the song has also been included in TV spots for the 2004 film The Terminal, as well as the trailer for the 2007 hit comedy Knocked Up.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played this song live during their 2008 North American tour.

Harrison was honoured in the parody song "No Where Near the End of My Time" by radio on-air personality Bob Rivers.

The song was used on the end credits of the Australian family comedy film Red Dog: True Blue in 2016 and for an episode of HBO's Crashing in 2018.


Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1989) Position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[6] 65

Track listing[edit]

7" single, Cassette single
A "End of the Line" (LP Version) – 3:30
B "Congratulations" (LP Version) – 3:30
12" single, 3" CD single
A "End of the Line" (Extended Version) – 5:34
B "Congratulations" (LP Version) – 3:29


  • George Harrison – lead vocals (1st, 4th, and 7th choruses), acoustic and electric guitars, slide guitar, backing vocals
  • Tom Petty – lead vocals (verses), acoustic guitar, bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Jeff Lynne – lead vocals (2nd, 5th, and 6th choruses), acoustic and electric guitars, backing vocals
  • Roy Orbison – lead vocals (3rd chorus), acoustic guitar, backing vocals
  • Bob Dylan – backing vocals
  • Jim Keltner – drums


  1. ^ "ACE Repertory: End of the Line". ASCAP. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  2. ^ Madinger, Chip; Easter, Mark (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium. Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions. pp. 475, 477. ISBN 0-615-11724-4.
  3. ^ Van der Kiste, John (2015). Jeff Lynne: The Electric Light Orchestra, Before and After. Stroud, UK: Fonthill Media. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-78155-492-0.
  4. ^ Madinger, Chip; Easter, Mark (2000). Eight Arms to Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium. Chesterfield, MO: 44.1 Productions. p. 477. ISBN 0-615-11724-4.
  5. ^ "Traveling Wilburys - End Of The Line". Traveling Wilburys. Retrieved 19 October 2012 – via YouTube.
  6. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 51, No. 8, December 23, 1989". RPM. 23 December 1999. Archived from the original on 7 September 2017. Retrieved 22 November 2017.

External links[edit]