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Throwback Thursday: Elton John Had A Plane for His Clothes

Throwback Thursday: Elton John Had A Plane for His Clothes
Meg Butler

Once upon a time, sometime in the 1970s, all the rockstars traveled in style. That style being a Boeing 720B called the Starship 1.

The Starship was owned by the teen idol Bobby Sherman and his manager, Ward Sylvester who purchased the plane from United Airlines as they airline phased out the model. The plan was to use the plane to fly Sherman to gigs and lease it out to other musicians so they tricked it out and modified, ensuring it’s legendary status.

This tour bus in the sky flew many rock legends including The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Elton John. Although each rock star had their own particular way of tricking out and using the plane, Elton John painted the plane in stars and stripes for his ”Rock of the Westies” tour and used it to transport his famous wardrobe.

Jimmy Page of Zeppelin reportedly made good use of the bedroom’s queen sized waterbed with a fake-fur throw to hide away with his teen girlfriend and do heroin.

Although Stones front man Mick Jagger reportedly found the 70s disco fabulous décor tacky, the Stones did enjoy getting to gigs on time because they no longer had to wait for Keith Richards. When he was passed out, he could be rolled onto the plane before one of the sexy stewardesses would hand him a Tequila Sunrise.

And although the legendary acts and their guests aboard the Starship continue to endure through the ages, the real way that it fulfilled the need of bands was by allowing them to travel on their own schedule. They didn’t have to play gigs in towns with early curfews only to have to spend the night sober, they could simply take off to the next city.

The Starship is no longer, but it did pave the way for current celebrity travel.


[Image Source: St. Olaf Pages]

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1 Comment

  1. Miles W. Rich

    July 19, 2018 at 5:26 am

    The Elton John airplane was a Boeing 720-022 with JT3C straight jet engines, not a Boeing 720B as the article claims. It was also the “prototype” i.e., first 720 built. United did not convert its 720’s to B airplanes with JT3D low bypass fanjet engines as American did. Had they done so, United could have used them on coast to coast flights as well as flights to Hawaii, and might have kept them and not phased them out in the 1971-72 time frame. Many of the airplanes were scrapped never to fly again, after United parked their fleet at MSP and DEN.

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