Paul’s flagship message of All You Need Is Love and peace in the artwork on 1972 Wings Wings Tour Bus, its origin & cultural Importance encapsulating the Swinging 60’s, Carnaby St, the art of Yellow Submarine and Magical Mystery Tour, San Francisco, The Summer Of Love, Woodstock & flower-power’s universal and eternal message of peace and love.
From the crooners of the 1950’s Elvis had the world All Shook Up from 1956. The Beatles exploded in 1962 and were at the heart of the Swinging 60’s as fashion, hairstyles and make-up changed along with the music and the new-found flower-power culture of peace, love and happiness.
London was the epicentre of The Swinging 60’s and in particular Carnaby St where rock stars of the day, many of whom played at The Marquee round the corner in Wardour St like The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Small Faces etc, fashion models; Twiggy and Chrissie Shrimpton, and designers like Mary Quant. Stars of stage and screen like Brigitte Bardot would mingle with regular shoppers all seeking the next groovy ‘look’ in boutiques with names like Gear, Lady Jane, John Stephen, Lord John, I was Lord Kitchener’s Valet etc.
New fashions and hairstyles were paraded for the waiting press photographers and reporters. the paparazzi of the day, With all the cool, positive, vibrant energy and light it seemed that the world had suddenly got coloured in… and so did the vehicles.
1966 YELLOW SUBMARINE
In 1966 The Beatles released the song Yellow Submarine which was followed by the animated movie, produced and directed by George Dunning. “Yellow Submarine is a movie whose message is all about making an ideal world. And it’s one of the most perfect pieces of moving art ever made.” – Josh Weinstein – The Simpsons – Futurama
1967 – SGT PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND
The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band became a worldwide smash. As well as the masterpiece that is Sgt Pepper one of the songs from that album; Lucy In The Sky with Diamonds, inspired by a drawing by John Lennon’s son Julian became a number one hit single. In hindsight, it’s been recognized as one of the most important songs in the entire psychedelic rock genre. Sgt Pepper is considered arguably the greatest album ever made. “Pop art doesn’t get more sublime than this.” – Ultimate Classic Rock. Its artwork is considered ‘the Mona Lisa of album covers’. Artists: Peter Blake and Jann Haworth
1967 – THE SUMMER OF LOVE
Soundtracked by ‘Sgt Pepper’ San Francisco’s Haight Asbury district became a migration hotspot for almost 100,000 youths that became known as the Summer of Love.
“The summer of 1967 was the Summer Of Love for us, We could feel what was going on with our friends, and people who had similar goals in America. You could just pick up the vibes, man.” – George Harrison
It was a fabulous time. I even get excited now when I realise that’s what it was for: peace and love, people putting flowers in guns. – Ringo Starr
The song that topped the charts around the world had the message “If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair” – Scott McKenzie’s San Francisco.
JULY 1967 – ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE
‘All You Need Is Love’ was written by John Lennon especially for Our World, the world’s first televised satellite link-up between 25 countries worldwide. Its message perfectly captured the optimistic mood of the Summer of Love, with a simplicity perfectly judged for their global audience. – Beatles Bible.
“All You Need Is Love” – John Lennon
DEC 1967 – MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
After the Beatles completed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in April 1967, Paul McCartney wanted to create a film that captured a psychedelic theme similar to that represented by author Ken Kesey‘s Merry Pranksters on the US West Coast. Titled Magical Mystery Tour, it would combine Kesey’s idea of a psychedelic bus ride with McCartney’s memories of Liverpudlians holidaying on coach tours. Wikipedia . The cover art for the album Magical Mystery Tour was designed by graphic artist and illustrator John Van Hamersveld who designed 300 record jackets for pop and psychedelic bands from the 1960s onward.
AUGUST 1969 – WOODSTOCK
Building on the 1967 Summer of Love The Woodstock Festival in 1969 was the coming together of half a million people to enjoy peace, love, happiness and music. This era became part of a two-decade turning point in history that influenced future decades, and still has an impact on the present day. Paul had wanted The Beatles to play Woodstock in 1969 but that wasn’t to be.
SEPTEMBER 1969 – THE BREAK-UP OF THE BEATLES
In 1969 John, Paul, George & Ringo sadly went their separate ways. John had announced in a private meeting with the lads in September 1969 that he wanted a ‘divorce’ from The Beatles and formed The Plastic Ono Band, George and Ringo worked on solo projects and in April 1970 Paul released his first solo project McCARTNEY.
1971 – WINGS
Paul McCartney and Wings, often billed simply as Wings, were a British-American rock band formed in 1971 by former Beatles bassist and singer Paul McCartney, his wife Linda McCartney on keyboards, session drummer Denny Seiwell, and former Moody Blues guitarist Denny Laine. Wings were noted for their commercial successes and musical eclecticism. Wikipedia
WNO 481 IS CHOSEN AS 1972 WINGS TOUR BUS
After the low-key success of The University Tour in 1972 Paul decided to have a properly organised tour of Europe in an open-top double-decker bus. John Morris, one of the organisers of Woodstock was chosen to organise the Wings Over Europe Tour and Carnaby St Gear boutique owner Tom Salter. Tom and his Carnaby St crowd were tasked with realising Paul’s wish to have the artwork in the style of Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine which in turn were inspired by the Swinging 60’s, Carnaby St, the Summer Of Love which inspired John’s psychedelic Rolls Royce and George’s Mini.
With the sights & sounds of Woodstock’s half a million revellers still echoing across the world artist Geoffrey Cleghorn was chosen to realise the vision of transforming WNO 481 into the 1972 WINGS TOUR BUS. Geoff was friends with Pink Floyd, The Who & The Rolling Stones and had recently completed a giant mural for Keith Moon of The Who. He enlisted fellow Ipswich Art School (Suffolk Campus) students Neil Dean, who designed the Wings logo, Georgina Dean & Charlie Smith.
“We painted the outside psychedelic, like a magic bus. 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
Here we had two of the most beautiful people on the planet living the hippie dream and spreading the All You Need Is Love and peace message for 7,500 miles across Europe. In the midst of the conflict with his brothers in music, the other Beatles, Paul with Linda, his family and band was spreading this message of peace and love that was surely an olive branch to John, George and Ringo and a rallying cry to the world; “We come in peace, We come to play, We come to have a good time, we Come Together – Join Us.
“Wings toured the world and became the best-selling pop act of the 1970s, with five consecutive number one albums.” – Britannica
The Beatles was always going to be a hard act to follow, even for Paul McCartney but it was John Lennon, in one of his final interviews, who understood the value of Wings as he observed:
“I kind of admire the way Paul started back from scratch, forming a new band and playing in small dance halls.”
As much as anyone, Lennon perceived the sheer amount of risk inherent in creating a band in the wake of The Beatles’ juggernaut.
To sum up the achievement in record sales, from 1971 through 1980, Wings achievements were:
- Five chart-topping and eight Top 10 US albums; Wild Life, Red Rose Speedway, Band On The Run, Venus & Mars, Wings At The Speed Of Sound, London Town, Back To The Egg, Wings Over America
- Fourteen Top 10 singles, six of which reached number-one, including My Love, Jet, Band On The Run and Maybe I’m Amazed.
- All 23 of Wings’ US singles registered as Top 40 hits.
Wings won six Grammy Awards, while selling some 14 million records, garnering seven platinum and nine gold discs. Live and Let Die became the first James Bond theme song to be nominated for an Oscar. It was also nominated for a Grammy. With all of the above the realization of Paul McCartney’s triumph with Wings comes fully into view.
2022 – 50 YEARS ON – THE CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW AT THE NEC
In this 50th anniversary year, 2022, we marvel at the wonder of a 20 year old former BRISTOL, ESSEX, NORFOLK, SUFFOLK seaside special double-decker living the dream of being chosen by the biggest rock star and entrusted with the care of not only himself but his family and band to tour 7,500 miles across Europe. After extensive restoration we are proud to present WNO 481 in association with FBHVC at The Classic Motor Show at The NEC where Phase 1 of the restoration was revealed. Bands played on Beatles Rooftop Concert inspired McCartney Stage on the open top deck including Wings legend Howie Casey. Tom Salter, Mr Carnaby St, saw for the first time in 50 years, the bus he transformed with his Carnaby St designers for Paul McCartney & Wings legendary and pivotal Wings Over Europe Tour.
“Well done! A real labour of love.” – Frank Nash CEO JP Fallon
STELLA McCARTNEY & 1972 WINGS TOUR BUS
Stella was 10 months old when she was brought on to 1972 Wings Tour Bus and her retro designs of today echo those days. Here’s Stella experiencing the ‘thrill’ of driving George Harrison’s Mini.
John’s psychedelic Rolls-Royce was John’s outward personal statement of peace and love and is considered priceless.
George’s psychedelic Mini was George’s outward personal statement of peace and love and is considered priceless.
Paul’s psychedelic 1972 Wings Tour Bus was Paul’s outward personal statement of peace and love made all the more meaningful coming in the midst of the troubles surrounding the Fab Four. It is easy to imagine that through the artwork Paul was extending an olive branch to his Beatles brothers. Reminders of Yellow Submarine, Magical Mystery Tour, the Summer Of Love when they were the Fab Four and completely in tune with each other. The Summer of ’72 was The Summer of Wings. Paul may have put a new band together which conquered the world in the 1970’s but as time has proved once-a-Beatle-forever-a-Beatle. We can only speculate but this author loves the idea that the Wings Over Europe Tour could easily have been Magical Mystery Tour ll.
The tribute to Wings that would have meant the most to Paul would have been that John was so enthused by the success of Paul and Wings that at the time he died he was busy recording songs to go on tour with. The news of John’s untimely and tragic death reverberated across the world and affected Paul so deeply it caused him to disband Wings. John had admired, was re-invigorated and enthused by Paul’s incredible achievements with Wings, second only to The Beatles juggernaut. John and Paul had reconnected. A Beatles one-off reunion was also discussed. John put forward the possibility of writing again with Paul. This author believes that John and Paul would have re-united The Beatles had John lived. John could easily have joined Paul and Wings on-stage to signal their new beginning. If John was on tour Paul could have been invited on stage to jam. Paul re-united with George and Ringo.
Paul’s flagship message of All You Need Is Love and peace in the idyllic landscape on 1972 Wings Wings Tour Bus with song references in the artwork; its sun shining (I’ll Follow The Sun – Good Day Sunshine – Here Comes The Sun), its river (“Picture yourself on a boat on a river…” – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds), its snow-capped mountains (Help), its rainbow shaped cloud (Golden Slumbers), its flowers a reference to flower power all reminders of halcyon days gone by (there are places I remember In My Life), surely found favour with John, George and Ringo. In those dark, troubled times and showing his true once a Beatle, forever a Beatle credentials and in true Beatles style Paul shone a light towards a brighter, better future. What Josh Weinstein (The Simpsons – Futurama) said about Yellow Submarine could also apply to the artwork on 1972 Wings Tour Bus upon which it was based, “One of the most perfect pieces of moving art ever made”.
© Copyright Tom Creaven-Jennings 2019-2023