A world-famous tube that could have been called otherwise. Queen's famous song "Bohemian Rhapsody", written by Freddie Mercury, could have been called "Mongolian Rhapsody", according to the manuscript of the song, written by the musician's hand and recently unearthed thanks to a auction at Sotheby's.
Written in ballpoint pen and pencil on paper from now-defunct airline British Midland Airways, the 15-page draft of "Bohemian Rhapsody" reveals the different directions Freddie Mercury envisioned for this iconic Queen title. . Sotheby's suggests an estimate between 800,000 and 1.2 million pounds sterling (930,000 to 1.4 million euros).
Freddie Mercury's manuscripts, never presented to the public, will be exhibited in New York, the first leg of a tour before their auction in London in September, the auction house announced Thursday, June 1. After New York until June 8, the manuscripts will stop in Los Angeles and Hong Kong. They will then be exhibited in August in the British capital, before being sold in a series of auctions.
Other drafts by the singer who died of AIDS in 1991 include those of "Don't Stop Me Now", "Somebody to Love" and "We Are The Champions", estimated at between 200,000 and 300,000 pounds (225,000 to 339,000 euros).
With such early drafts being "easily lost or discarded", the pieces up for auction offer "a fascinating dive into how the songs" of Freddie Mercury "were developed and assembled", "while reminding us of their musical complexity and sophistication. “, underlined Gabriel Heaton, specialist in manuscripts at Sotheby's.
These pages reveal the artist's hard work, his "incredible care" in creating Queen's signature vocal harmonies, he added. Among the other exhibits is a red notebook from the early 1970s, arguably one of his earliest collections of lyrics, whose 42 pages also feature sketches of the band's logo and coffee stains.
A yellow spiral notebook, 24 pages of lyrics for the band's 1978 seventh album, Jazz, which includes the track "Don't Stop Me Now," will also go on sale, along with costumes, including the satin jumpsuit worn by Freddie Mercury in the music video for "Bohemian Rhapsody" in 1975.
The complete catalog of the sale must be unveiled at the end of July-beginning of August. When announcing, in April, the auction of 1,500 objects, including stage costumes and paintings by Matisse or Picasso that belonged to Freddie Mercury, Sotheby's had estimated that it would reach a total of at least 6 million pounds. (more than 6.7 million euros).
Profits will be donated in part to the Mercury Phoenix Trust and Elton John Aids Foundation, two organizations involved in the fight against AIDS.