Unearthed handwritten notes by Freddie Mercury reveal his early ideas for Queen’s flagship anthem Bohemian Rhapsody.
The most interesting musing written by the late frontman shows his original intentions for the song’s title, and that he was at one point leaning towards the phrase ‘Mongolian Rhapsody’.
The item of stationary, which was taken from a now-defunct British airline, British Midland, displays the former working-title, with the word ‘Mongolian‘ crossed out and ‘Bohemian‘ written above it.
Elsewhere in the notes, the vocalist appears to have jotted down other lyrical ideas, such as ‘fandango,‘ ‘Figaro,’ ‘thunderbolts and lighting’ and ‘belladonna’.
Other revelations from the draft show Mercury’s initial lyrics for the verse. Instead of ‘Mama/Just killed a man/Put a gun against his head/Pulled my trigger, now he’s dead’, the singer proposed: ‘Mama/There’s a war began/I’ve got to leave tonight/I’ve got to stand and fight.’
The 15 pages of notes – which were recently uncovered after Mercury’s longtime friend Mary Austin offered up thousands of the singer’s items to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s auction house in London – are estimated to be worth $1.5 million.
Fans and collectors will be able to bid for the piece in a live auction on September 6.
Among the 1,500 items up for auction, there are also manuscripts of working lyrics to other Queen songs including Don’t Stop Me Now, Somebody To Love and We Are The Champions.
Mercury’s signature crown and cloak ensemble, famously worn throughout 1986’s Magic Tour, is also available, and expected to bring in £60,000-£80,000.
Following the death of Queen’s vocalist in 1991, Austin inherited much of his estate. Austin tells the BBC that she is selling the memorabilia in the hope of getting her “affairs in order”, adding that the collection “takes you deeper within the individual and the man I knew.”
View the Bohemian Rhapsody draft below:
Did you know ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was originally titled ‘Mongolian Rhapsody’?Written entirely by Freddie Mercury, a never-before-seen early draft reveals untold insights into one of the greatest pop songs of the 20th century.Read more: https://t.co/m8t4hoE39s pic.twitter.com/hlSHvhxCODMay 31, 2023