News Culture

Iron Maiden’s 747, and Other Airborne Rock Stars

Pour one out for Buddy Holly.

Iron Maiden’s new Boeing 747 touched down at the U.K.’s Cardiff Airport on February 17, it did so with all the style you’d expect from a jumbo jet belonging one of the world’s biggest metal bands. “Ed Force One,” as the group’s private plane is called, will ferry the band across the planet on their 47-stop “The Book of Souls” tour, with none other than lead singer Bruce Dickenson—not to be confused with The Bruce Dickinson—behind the yoke. (Fun fact: He used to fly 757s for charter airline Astraeus when he served as marketing director.)

But Ed Force One is just the latest in a long line of high-flying rock star rides. Rock ‘n’ roll and the jetliner came of age around the same time, and they each found a wonderful partner in the other. Rockers used planes to spread their fame (and loving) around the world; jets used rock ‘n’ roll to seem even more glamorous. It was a match made in heaven. Or, at least at 35,000 feet.

Bruce Dickinson crouches in front of his prop plane before flying to Paris in 1998., Naki/Redferns
Mick Jagger brushes up on the news between concerts in the Rolling Stones' private jet during their 1975 American tour., Christopher Simon Sykes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Michael Jackson arrives in Hamburg on his private plane in 1992., Daniel Posselt/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Nazareth's Darrell Sweet prays aboard a small private plane flying from Liverpool airport in 1973. , Fin Costello/Redferns
Tommy Bolin pretends to read Creem magazine during Deep Purple's tour of Japan in 1975., Fin Costello/Redferns
Elton John being Elton John on a private plane, circa 1975., Terry O’Neill/Getty Images
Model Jerry Hall on a plane from Scotland with Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones during the Stones' 1982 European Tour., Michael Putland/Getty Images
The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein, Paul McCartney and others play a game of cards aboard an airplane in the midst of a tour., Archive Photos/Getty Images
Billy Joel posing in the cockpit of his tour plane during his 1980 tour of the Midwest., Richard E. Aaron/Redferns
Glenn Hughes, Ian Paice, David Coverdale, Ritchie Blackmore, and Jon Lord of Deep Purple pose at the foot of their Starship Jet plane on the 1974 U.S. tour., Fin Costello/Redferns
Aerosmith's Steven Tyler dreams on before a concert at Michigan's Pontiac Stadium., Fin Costello/Redferns
John Paul Jones of English rock group Led Zeppelin plays a Thomas electric organ behind the bar on “The Starship,” a private Boeing 720B airliner used by the band in 1973., Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Sid Vicious of The Sex Pistols peruses a magazine on a plane in 1977., Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Elton John travels in a private Boeing jet—complete with piano bar—during his 1974 US tour., Terry O’Neill/Getty Images
Keith Richards and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones drink, smoke and chat on board their plane between gigs during the Rolling Stones' 1975 Tour of the Americas., Christopher Simon Sykes/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards in the Rolling Stones' private jet during the group's 1975 American tour., Christopher Simon Sykes/Hulton Archive/Getty ImagesP