(Homage) Julien's Auctions announced today that Paul McCartney's legendary 1972 Wings tour double decker bus will hit the road once again for its first time at auction headlining "PLAYED, WORN, & TORN: ROCK 'N' ROLL ICONIC GUITARS AND MEMORABILIA" the industry's leading rock n' roll auction house's 20th anniversary celebration Thursday, November 16th, Friday, November 17th and Saturday, November 18th, 2023 live in Music City at Hard Rock® Cafe Nashville and online at Julien's Live.
The historic artifact joins the previously announced lineup of 1,000 marquee items that includes two of the most important guitars ever to be offered at auction - Eric Clapton's "The Fool" and Kurt Cobain's "Skystang I" - and items from Nirvana, Elvis Presley, Prince, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Eddie Van Halen, Frank Zappa, Dee Dee Ramone, Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees, Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, Slash from Guns N' Roses, Snoop Dogg, Albert King, Kirk Hammett, Pete Townshend and more.
Known as WNO 481, this original 1953 Bristol KSW double-decker bus (estimate: $200,000 - $300,000) (photo credit: TT New Agency / Alamy Stock Photo) that was purchased by Paul and Linda McCartney in 1972 and used as their primary tour bus for the band Wings, is one of the most famous and beloved buses in the world.
The superstar vehicle represents more than 50 years of rock and roll history and the monumental chapter of the legendary Beatle's record- breaking career when he went from being in the greatest band in the 60s to next being in the greatest band of the 70s. In the Summer of '72, Paul and Linda McCartney with Denny Laine, Henry McCullough, and Denny Seiwell set flight as Wings and embarked on their first tour titled The Paul McCartney & Wings Over Europe Tour.
The WNO 481 became their official home away from home and played a vital part in the image of Paul's new band and sound fresh after coming off his storied career with The Beatles. The bus, painted with psychedelic artwork by renowned artist Geoffrey Cleghorn, known for his work with The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Who, modeled its design after the styling of The Beatles Yellow Submarine album cover to make its appearance on the road like a magic bus of love and peace. The open top bus was not a typical rock n' roll tour vehicle as the tour was a family affair with the band members' wives and children coming along for the musical adventure. A children's playpen was installed on the open top deck of the bus as well as mattresses, beanbags and blankets for the band and their families to lie out in the sun during warm summer days. During the Wings' 1972 tour, this bus traveled over 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) through nine countries across Europe that included France, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom with the band's shows and appearances hotly pursued by the media and fans whose word of mouth and press coverage momentum made The Paul McCartney & Wings Over Europe Tour a smash success.
As with John Lennon's iconic psychedelic Rolls-Royce and George Harrison's psychedelic Mini, this bus represents a moment in the psychedlic era and its status as the world's first Beatles-related double-decker bus. The bus is a touchstone of Beatlemania and cultural importance as the year of 1972 spurred a wellspring of creativity that inspired McCartney to write Wings' classic songs for Red Rose Speedway and record for the Grammy award winning and Oscar nominated classic James Bond theme song "Live and Let Die." The 1972 Wings Over Europe tour sparked the band's trajectory into superstardom as the bestselling pop act of the 70s with an extraordinary 27 U.S. Top 40 Hits such as "Maybe I'm Amazed," "My Love," "Band On The Run," "Jet," "Junior's Farm," "Listen To What The Man Said," and "Silly Love Songs" and five Number One albums that included the smash albums 1973's Band on the Run and 1976's Wings at the Speed of Sound. Sir Paul McCartney was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame twice first with the Beatles in 1988 and as a solo artist in 1999 and knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1997.
The interior of the bus has been restored with great detail to bring it back to the condition as it would have been on the 1972 tour. The refinished interior is complimented by wooden bunk beds, which the band member's children would have slept on, and an original Wings tour trunk that was donated to the project by Denny Seiwell. Around the perimeter of the lower cabin are bright yellow curtains that accent the psychedelic's paint scheme of the exterior. Also included is a custom-built cover for the upper deck that displays the graphics "1972 Wings Tour Bus" on the roof.
Prior to being used as the primary tour bus for the band in 1972, this bus began its service on November 3rd, 1953 for Eastern National. This 1953 Bristol KSW 5G ECW double-decker bus is equipped with a Gardner 5LW 7 liter diesel engine mated to a manual transmission. The bus was fully restored by a workshop in Thorpe le Soken, Essex, after being discovered in Spain in a state of decay. Its three year restoration was completed in November 2022 and unveiled at the vehicle's 50th anniversary fete in front of 90,000 visitors at The Classic Motor Show at the NEC Classic Motor Show in Birmingham, United Kingdom where legendary saxophonist, Howie Casey, who had previously played with the band Wings, performed.
In celebration of its historic restoration and highly anticipated upcoming auction, fans will have a chance to win a ticket to ride and experience the special history of this Legend Of Rock & Road in an exclusive Magical History Tour contest sponsored by Hard Rock Cafe and Julien's Auctions. The tour will take place October 17th. Enter to win a ride through London on the 1972 Wings Bus with the Beatles only secretary, Freda Kelly, October 17th by liking the post on Instagram and tagging a friend you'd like to take on the bus with you. Giveaway closes on Friday, October 13th mid-day. For more information follow both @juliensauctions and @hrcpiccadillycircus
"Tour buses have been a part of Rock N' Roll music lore for generations and there is no other one quite as famous and remarkable as Paul McCartney's 1972 Wings Tour Over Europe bus," said Martin Nolan, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Julien's Auctions. "This caravan of pure magic and love carried Paul and Linda McCartney with their entire band, children, family members and loved ones during that magical summer of '72 that witnessed the critical and commercial explosion of Wings." Nolan added," We're proud to offer this automotive superstar that is restored back to its original and full glory and heading to auction for the first time at Julien's. We're also excited to announce today our contest with our long-standing partner Hard Rock® Cafe where some lucky fans will have a chance to win a seat on the ultimate Paul McCartney Wings Beatles Tour with the one and only, Freda Kelly, the Beatles' beloved secretary."