Paul McCartney explains why he chose a 20 year old seaside special open-top double-decker bus to be his 1972 Wings Tour Bus. This despite his promoter John Morris wanting to talk him out of it as he was concerned it wouldn’t be able to keep up with the accompanying brand new and highly efficient Mercedes trucks etc. Tom Salter, the Tour Manager and owner of the famous Gear Boutique in Carnaby St. didn’t carry the message to Paul, he thought an open-top double-decker bus adventure was a fantastic idea.
To give some context as to how things were for Paul on his first major tour flying solo with a new band after the break-up of The Beatles here’s an interview he did before the first concert.
“The first show of the European tour was booked for a deliberately out-of-the-way location – a 2,000-seat Roman amphitheatre at Châteauvallon, high in the pine-forested hills above Toulon on the south-eastern coast of France. Here, before the gig, on Sunday, 9 July 1972, Paul gave an informal press conference. ‘I’m starting all over again and working my way upwards,’ he accepted. ‘You don’t fight Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali – World Heavyweight Boxing Champion) on your first time out.’ He hinted at his recent crisis of confidence and the worry of being smothered by the weight of his reputation: ‘A year ago, I used to wake up in the morning and think, I’m a myth. I’m Paul McCartney. And it scared the hell out of me.’
“We knew we were going to tour in Europe and that the weather would be nice, and the idea of being stuck in a bus all the time, going from city to city, hotel to hotel, wasn’t too appealing so we decided to travel around in an open-top bus and got some sunshine as we traveled from one place to another.” – Paul McCartney
“If we’re gonna be in Europe in the summer going to places like the south of France it’s just silly to be in some little box all day gasping for air so we came up with this idea to have an open deck, upper deck kind of thing. We’ve got some mattresses up there so we can just cruise along, fantastic, lie around & get the sun.” – Paul McCartney
“We painted the outside psychedelic, like a magic bus,” McCartney says of their tour transport on that halcyon trip. “If you look at it very straight, very conventionally, it was quite a mad thing to do, to put a playpen on the top deck of the bus and put all the children in there while driving around Europe. It was not what you’d expect from a normal band. But we weren’t a normal band.” – Paul McCartney
In 2017 Paul McCartney tweeted to his millions of followers, “We’ve heard that the 1972 Wings Tour Bus is back on the road in the UK. Have info on this? Send us a DM!”
MPL (Sir Paul McCartney’s Company)
October 2019 we received an email from MPL. “We would like to wish you the best of luck with the refurbishment and please do send photographs when the bus is completed.”
Sir James Paul McCartney CH MBE (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and record and film producer who gained worldwide fame as co-lead vocalist and bassist for the Beatles.
His songwriting partnership with John Lennon remains the most successful in history. After the group disbanded in 1970, he pursued a solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife, Linda, and Denny Laine.
In 1970, McCartney debuted as a solo artist with the album McCartney. Throughout the 1970s, he led Wings, one of the most successful bands of the decade, with more than a dozen international top 10 singles and albums.
McCartney is one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. He has written or co-written 32 songs that have reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and as of 2009, had sales of 25.5 million RIAA-certified units in the United States.
His honours include two inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1999), 18 Grammy Awards, an appointment as a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1965, and a knighthood in 1997 for services to music.
As of 2020, he is also one of the wealthiest musicians in the world, with an estimated fortune of £800 million.
“The Beatles were a pretty hard act to follow, and we were going to follow them.” – Paul McCartney
After the break-up of The Beatles, McCartney could have worked with super-groups but he missed the camaraderie of a band on the road.
In the Summer of 1972, Paul McCartney and Wings travelled on WNO 481 for over 12,000 kilometres, 7,500 miles, to perform 25 concerts, in 25 cities, in 9 countries of Europe, for the 1972 Wings Over Europe Tour.
McCartney and his team had WNO 481 transformed into a ‘Woodstock on Wheels’, to bring his family and embryonic band on his first major tour since The Beatles.
When The 1972 Wings Over Europe Tour was over, Paul McCartney & Wings were the finished article and the real deal.
After the break-up of The Beatles, WNO 481 had played its part in helping Paul McCartney spread his Wings. Paul was now ready to take on the UK, the USA and the rest of the world.