Band on the Run: Paul McCartney’s Double-Decker 1972 Tour Bus May Fetch $300,000 at Auction
The vehicle was discovered in a state of decay in Spain and lovingly restored over three years to match its condition in 1972.
Forget the Yellow Submarine, it’s time to take a ride on the blue double-decker tour bus.
That’s the news from the rock ‘n’ roll specialists at Julien’s Auctions, who are offering the original and fully restored bus used by Paul McCartney for his legendary 1972 Wings tour of Europe. It bears an estimate of $200,000-$300,000.
Known as WNO 481, this bus is actually a 1953 Bristol KSW that was given a serious upgrade to accommodate McCartney and his band. It was notably the iconic singer and songwriter’s first major musical endeavor after the breakup of his previous band, The Beatles.
Wings dominated the 1970s with hits like “Maybe I’m Amazed,” “Band on the Run,” “Jet,” “Listen to What the Man Said,” and “Silly Love Songs.” It was in 1972 that McCartney wrote the hit “Live and Let Die,” for the James Bond film.
And this isn’t your standard tour bus, but one vividly painted in a psychedelic-influenced style by the artist Geoffrey Cleghorn, known for his collaborations with legendary artists such as The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and The Who, among others.
The bus was styled to recall the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine album cover, “to make its appearance on the road like a magic bus of love and peace,” according to the auctioneer. The yellow theme is picked up in curtains that contrast the mostly blue exterior.
The bus was designed in such a way as to make the traveling family-friendly: for the band members’ children, the interior featured bunk beds and the open top a playpen. Also on the upper level were mattresses and, for clear days, blankets for sunbathing.
The vehicle will be auctioned off as part of “Played, Worn & Torn: Rock ‘n’ Roll Iconic Guitars and Memorabilia,” taking place from November 16th-18th at the Music City at Hard Rock Cafe in Nashville, as well as online. It will join a host of other lots, including guitars from Eric Clapton and Kurt Cobain, and assorted ephemera from Dolly Parton, Prince, Johnny Cash and many others.
“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. “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.”
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