End of the Line (3:26)

Cover of Volume 1

From Volume 1 and 10 other releases

“End of the Line” is the last track from Traveling Wilburys’ first album, Volume 1, released in 1988. Its riding-on-the-rails rhythm suggests its theme and the on-the-move nature of the group. It features all the Traveling Wilburys, except Bob Dylan, as lead singers; George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, and Roy Orbison sing the chorus in turn, while Tom Petty sings the verses.

The song then expands into a “freight train” rhythm to underscore its theme.

It was released as the second single from the album, eventually peaking at number 63 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The sleeve cover of the 45 rpm single, photographed four days after the death of Roy Orbison in December 1988, features a guitar in a rocking chair. The same image appeared in the music video for the single, with the camera focusing on the guitar in the chair, slowly rocking back and forth, during Roy Orbison’s solo vocal parts. There is also a brief close-up of a framed photograph of Roy Orbison.

The song was used over the end credits of the final episode of the British sitcom One Foot in the Grave. A version sung by Dennis Waterman was used as the theme tune for the pilot of another BBC production, New Tricks, although this was soon replaced by a similar-sounding song, “It’s All Right”, by Mike Moran, which is easily mistaken for “End of the Line”.

Tom Petty has been noted to play this song live in his most recent (2008) U.S. tour.


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