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Bohemian Rhapsody, according to a working draft by Queen Freddie Mercury, was called Mongolian Rhapsody

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1,500 personal Freddie Mercury items were donated to Sotheby’s auction. Among them was the singer’s handwritten, detailed lyrics written on airline stationery for the band’s 1975 classic, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” It turns out that perhaps one of Queen’s greatest hits could have been called differently.

1,500 unique memorabilia of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury donated by his partner and later friend Mary Austin will be up for auction at Sotheby’s in London in September.

At the beginning of June, a series of show galleries was launched, the first of them – lasting from 1 to 8 June – takes place in the New York auction house Sotheby’s. Among other things, Mercury’s stage crown, his glasses and jewelry were shown there, as well as the handwritten lyrics of “We Are The Champions”, “Somebody to Love”, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, and “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Sketch “Somebody to Love”PAP/EPA/SARAH YENESEL

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Private items belonging to Freddie MercuryPAP/EPA/SARAH YENESEL

Freddie Mercury’s stage crownPAP/EPA/SARAH YENESEL

The attention was focused, among others, on the last one – the working text for the almost six-minute long, one of Queen’s most important songs, oscillating around rock opera, glam rock and progressive rock.

The text of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, in which we can find both popular culture motifs (Figaro, Scaramouche) and biblical references (Galileo, Beelzebub), remains a mystery to this day. Its early version, now shown by Sotheby’s, reveals the working title of the blockbuster, previously unknown to fans and researchers of the band.

Sketch “Bohemian Rhapsody”PAP/EPA/SARAH YENESEL

On one of the fifteen pages of the manuscript, Mercury wrote “Mongolian Rhapsody” at the top, but he crossed out the first word and replaced it with the familiar “Bohemian”.

Working text “Bohemian Rhapsody”Sotheby’s

The sketch also reveals another working version of one of the hit songs.

Instead “Mom, I just killed a man. I put a gun to his head, pulled the trigger, now he’s dead” we read: “Mom, the war has begun. I have to leave tonight, I have to get up and fightOn the cards we can also read alternative words, which may have been used instead of the iconic “Galileo”, “Figaro” or “Bismillah”: “Momento”, “Belladonna”, or “Matador”.

text “Mongolian “Bohemian Rhapsody” is written on the now-defunct British Midland airline’s calendar stationery. The value was estimated at between £800,000 and £1,200,000 – making the manuscript one of the most expensive items at the Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own auction.

Gabriel Heaton, quoted by The Guardian as a specialist in Sotheby’s Books and Manuscripts department, noted that Mercury’s manuscripts reflect “the extensive rewriting that was part of the songwriting process”. He noted that “the care and detail of these sketches are all the more remarkable when they refer to a man who so often downplayed his composing process.”

“These manuscripts are a testament to the many hours he spent perfecting his craft, experimenting and playing with language,” Heaton said.

Freddie Mercury. An extravagant introvert who wasn’t afraid to dream

Freddie Mercury Getty Images

“Bohemian Rhpasody” is often cited as the best song in the history of popular music and the band’s magnum opus. It comes from the 1975 album “A Night at the Opera”. Upon its release, it topped the UK charts for nine weeks. In the UK, it remains the third best-selling single of all time to this day, and was ranked number 17 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Brian May, John Deacon, Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury present silver, gold and platinum records in London for the sales of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The song was then number one for nine weeksPhoto from August 8, 1976Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment/PA/PAP

This music video changed the face of music. Material about “Bohemian Rhapsody” from 2017Just 240 minutes – that’s how long the music video for the song Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen was supposed to take. According to some, the project opened a completely new chapter in the history of music videos. Everything happened on November 10, 1975 at Elstree Studios in LondonTVN24 BiS

The Guardian, tvn24.pl, Rolling Stone

Main photo source: Anwar Hussein/EMPICS Entertainment/PA/PAP



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