The Woodstock Bus named "Light"
In 1967, the leader of the band, Bob Grimm, asked his friend, local muralist and painter of cars and bodies, Bob Hieronimus, to paint his VW bus with esoteric symbols. He named his van after his band, calling it also “Light”...
This VW bus tells a compelling story <see posting here> but it’s unlikely that any of the half million people who saw it during its trip to the Woodstock festival in 1969 even noticed that they were admiring a “rolling mural”.
The soon to be famous celebration of music, peace and free love was chronicled by a clever photographer for the Associated Press who snapped a photo of the Hieronimus “Light” bus that spoke at least a thousand words about that muddy day. Hundreds of people climbed on top of their cars to get out of the mud and get a better view of the performers on stage.
This particular photo captured that day so well, that it has been reprinted countless times in retrospective articles about Woodstock, the hippie generation, painted cars, and in CD compilations of music, etc.
We heard about the latest use of this photo a few months ago, and when we finally located a few back issues of the Rolling Stone magazine from November 14, 2002 on Ebay, it was obvious that most people were interested in buying this issue because of the nearly nude (except for a strategically placed guitar!) Christina Aguilera on the cover! But seriously folks, we wanted to read the articles on the inside!
The article was called “Ultra Cool Cars... and the Rock Stars Who Love Them” and our famous photo is found on page 69 where they compare “Hot and Hard vs. Big and Boxy: The Story of the Cool Car”. But unfortunately, once again, the two musicians from the band “Light” who are perched atop the VW bus went unnamed. Let the records show, these rockers are Trudé Morgul on the right and the late Ricky Peters on the left. Instead their caption reads: "1967 Volkswagen Bus: The hangout as political statement. There's never been more of a youth-cult ride than this relic. VW replaced it in '79 with the family-friendly, uncool Vanagon."
Thirty-four years later and Dr. Bob is getting ready to paint yet another car! The plans are for his 1983 Mercedes 300 TD, which he has designs for based on George Harrison's Dark Horse logo. It’s no secret Dr. Bob’s favorite rock group has been the Traveling Wilburys for many years, and he’s thinking he might even include an homage to the other Wilburys on the car. That would be Spike, Nelson, Clayton, Otis, Muddy, Charlie T. Jr., Boo, Lucky, and Lefty (Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, and Roy Orbison). You can be sure that other cosmic myths will also be employed with the underlying theme of “We are One People, One Planet”.
Click here to visit the Hieronimus Art Gallery.
Click here for more description of the symbols on the “Light” bus.