Freddie Mercury’s Iconic Piano Has A Backstory Most Fans Don’t Know

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Freddie Mercury, known for his powerful singing and piano skills, wrote music on the piano. In September 2023, the piano he used to compose “Bohemian Rhapsody,” one of Queen’s most famous songs, was scheduled for auction at Sotheby’s. Since Mercury’s death in 1991, the piano was held by his close friend Mary Austin. Back in 1975, when he shared a home with Austin, he acquired the Yamaha G2 piano. This cherished instrument traveled with him as he moved to different places, adding complexity to Queen’s music.

When Freddie Mercury passed away at 45, he left his considerable wealth, including the baby grand piano, to Mary Austin and his family.

Regarding the choice to sell the piano, Austin, who was 72 years old in 2023, shared her thoughts with BBC News.

“The time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life.”

More of Freddie Mercury’s personal belongings are anticipated to be auctioned at Sotheby’s, including stage outfits, handwritten song lyrics, and even smaller items like a comb for his mustache. The director of Sotheby’s, Thomas Williams, shared with The Guardian that these items hold significance.

“Freddie was a hoarder, he didn’t throw anything away. His possessions give us an extraordinary 360-degree view of the man, from his childhood until his death.”

After being auctioned, experts suggest that the baby grand piano might fetch a price as high as $3.8 million, as reported by CNN.

Mary Austin, a close friend of Freddie Mercury, talked to Sotheby’s about how Mercury found the Yamaha G2 baby grand piano.

Before this, he used an upright piano, but when he discovered the right baby grand, his Queen bandmates helped him replace the old piano in the small living space he shared with Austin. The new G2 was more in line with the top-notch equipment Queen used on stage. This baby grand piano opened up new ways for Mercury to create music, Austin explained.

According to Austin, Freddie treated the Yamaha with utmost care. It was more than just an instrument to him; it was an extension of himself and his creative tool. He wouldn’t smoke near it or put a glass on it, and he made sure no one else did either. The piano was always kept in perfect condition. Classical pianist Joseph Fleetwood mentioned that the Yamaha G2 had a crisp and clear sound that would have appealed to a rock musician like Freddie. He also appreciated the smooth action of the keys, which is crucial for a pianist’s playing experience.

In 1975, Freddie Mercury purchased the Yamaha G2 piano for just £1,000, which would be around £11,000 (about $14,000) in 2023.


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The recent Sotheby’s auction of Mercury’s items isn’t the first time his belongings have been sold. In 2021, another piano, a Kawai EP 308 baby grand electric piano, was auctioned by The Alarm’s lead singer, Mike Peters. Peters had bought it from Mercury in the 1980s for £3,000. In 2021, the Kawai EP 308 was expected to sell for about £20,000 (approximately $26,000).

Before the 2023 auction of Mercury’s Yamaha G2 baby grand, the piano and other items from the collection were displayed for free in London. The Yamaha piano was used by Mercury to compose “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Additionally, an unseen draft of the song’s lyrics with an alternate title, “Mongolian Rhapsody,” was up for sale, alongside other revisions. Sotheby’s auction specialist Gabriel Heaton stated:

“Of all the objects that he had, this is the one that meant the most to him.”

The Yamaha G2 piano held a special place in Freddie Mercury’s life as an instrument of creativity and expression. Purchased in 1975 for £1,000, its value extended beyond its price tag, becoming a cherished possession for the rock icon. As part of a collection that included other personal items, this piano, which played a pivotal role in the creation of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” garnered significant attention at the 2023 Sotheby’s auction.