It seems 1997 is a good year to be a fan of George Harrison, formerly known as "The Quiet Beatle". A number of rumours abound about his forthcoming projects. I have made a small compilation here of the rumours I've heard. I wouldn't take it all as gospel though- to paraphrase George (can't quote him - I might be infringing on his intellectual property rights) - "It is only gossip." *g*
In it, Tom Petty says that he had seen George recently (January or February '97) and had talked about a future Wilburys album.
Another source of the Traveling Wilburys rumour is CBS's show, This Morning, which appeared on US television on June 12. George had guested on the show with Ravi Shankar, to promote Ravi's new album, Chants Of India. At the end of the segment, the anchor-man said that George will begin working on a new solo album next year, and to look out for some more Traveling Wilburys music...
The third, and probably most surprising source of the Traveling Wilburys tour is Paul McCartney's press-kit for Flaming Pie. According to San Francisco radio station KFOG FM, Paul McCartney has joined the Traveling Wilburys. This rumour gives me the impression that the Wilburys have indeed already gotten together to discuss their next project.
We're not quite through with this rumour yet, as Frank Giusti reported in the The DarkHorse Bulletin, Volume Twelve that in a recent New York radio interview, George talked about the high likelihood of a new Wilburys album by the end of the year, and perhaps a Traveling Wilburys tour as well! Very exciting news. Hope it's true!
This rumour was backed up yet again on August 28 when, in an interview with the French Press to promote Ravi's new album (and slam modern music), George said that he was "still writing songs... I would like to record again with the Travelling Wilburys." So, apparently the recording sessions haven't commenced yet. (Hardly surprising since Bob Dylan's still on tour.)
In March 1997, George Harrison was in Melbourne, Australia to see the Grand Prix. He didn't really get a lot of publicity while he was over here, but there was a short article in The Age which said that George had recently produced an album for Ravi Shankar (Chants Of India) and that he would begin work on a solo album "later this year".
And, if you've been paying attention, you'll notice that this rumour also popped up on the CBS show on June 12. :)
Another source of the New Album rumour is Russian newspaper, Kaleidoscope, which reported on August 14 that George will have a new album of twelve tracks out early next year. Apparently though, this newspaper is one of those ones you have to read with a pinch of salt. Thanks Aya for this info.