Wings Over Europe Tour

From Jul 09, 1972 to Aug 24, 1972 • By Wings
First date:
Jul 09, 1972
Last date:
Aug 24, 1972
Number of concerts:
Number of countries:

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From Wikipedia:

In the summer of 1972, Paul McCartney’s newly formed band, Wings, set out on a concert tour of Europe, in a double decker bus, WNO 481.


Coming on the heels of a tour of English universities, the Wings Over Europe Tour was intended to promote recent singles “Give Ireland Back to the Irish” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb“, as well as provide live recordings to be included on a future album. The second objective did not come to fruition for a long time, the album Red Rose Speedway was released in Spring of the next year without any of the concert material. Only the 21 August performance of “The Mess” at The Hague was officially released, as a B-side to the single “My Love“.

The live version of new song “Best Friend” was intended to be released as part of Cold Cuts compilation album, but the album was abandoned permanently.

In 2012 a live track consisting of “Eat at Home” and “Smile Away” recorded in Groningen was released as an iTunes exclusive to the reissue of Paul and Linda McCartney’s Ram.

Only in 2018, a newly compiled live album Wings Over Europe was released in the limited edition boxset Wings 1971-73 in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection., while “Best Friend” and “1882” were also released as part of Red Rose Speedway reissue.


The band, with the McCartney children and their road crew, loaded up in a brightly coloured double decker bus for the tour of the continent. The tour proceeded largely without incident, but on 10 August in Gothenburg, Sweden, Paul and Linda McCartney were fined US$1,200 for possession of marijuana. Paul joked that the incident would “make good publicity” for the tour, in comments reported around the world at the time (e.g. Miami Herald, 12 August 1972). The Daily Telegraph (12 August 1972) quoted “a member of the group” as saying that this was an “excellent advertisement… Our name flies now all over the world”.

Wings’ line up for the tour was Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Laine, Henry McCullough, and Denny Seiwell. […]

I like to look upon ourselves as wandering troubadours. moving around like gipsies and playing music. We don’t have to worry about money. We are playing to enjoy ourselves.

Paul McCartney – From Daily Mirror – Friday 14 July 1972

Paul McCartney in "Wingspan: Paul McCartney's Band on the Run":

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. Not much quality of life there. So we decided to travel around in an open-top bus. We put mattresses on the top deck and got some sunshine as we traveled from one place to another. And we painted the outside psychedelic, like a magic bus.

If you look at it very straight, very conventionally, it was a quite 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.



From DON COOLICAN in Paris – FORMER Beatle Paul McCartney has hit the road again – in a psychedelic bus. He and his group, Wings, have hired the double-decker bus for a two-month tour of Europe. They have been booked to give twenty-six concerts in nine countries. And going from place to place in the bus, says Paul, helps them all to enjoy the simple life to which touring groups are not usually accustomed.

Yesterday, soon after starting the tour in the south of France, Paul said: “I like to look upon ourselves as wandering troubadours. moving around like gipsies and playing music. We don’t have to worry about money. We are playing to enjoy ourselves.”

Helping to keep Paul – and singing with the group – is his 34-year-old wife, Linda. They have also taken along their children. three-year-old Mary and ten-month-old Stella, and Linda’s daughter by a previous marriage, Heather, aged eight. Their bus — once owned by the council at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk – is fitted with a kitchen, bunks, expensive stereo equipment… and mattresses on the open roof for sunbathing.

From Daily Mirror – Friday 14 July 1972
From Daily Mirror – Friday 14 July 1972

Last updated on June 5, 2022

26 concerts • 9 countries

Going further

Wings Live - On tour in the 70s

This is the first detailed study of Paul McCartney's Wings on tour in the 1970s. It covers every single concert from the University Tour of 1972, ending with the abandoned tour of Japan in January 1980. A wide variety of primary sources have been consulted, including all available audio and video recordings; press reviews; fan recollections; newspaper reports and tour programmes.

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