Manuscripts by Freddie Mercury never presented to the public, in the forefront of which that of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, are exhibited in New York, the first stage of a tour before their auction in London in September, announced Thursday Sotheby’s.
After New York until June 8, the manuscripts will stop in Los Angeles and Hong Kong. They will then be displayed in August in the British capital before being sold in a series of auctions from August 4 to September 11.
Written in ballpoint pen and pencil on paper from a now defunct airline, “British Midlands Airways”, the draft of “Bohemian Rhapsody” reveals over 15 pages the different directions that Freddie Mercury had considered for this famous title. by Queen, which he originally planned to be titled “Mongolian Rhapsody”.
Sotheby’s evokes an estimate between 800,000 and 1.2 million pounds sterling (930,000 to 1.4 million euros).
Among the other drafts of the singer who died of AIDS in 1991 are those of “Don’t Stop Me Now”, “Somebody to Love”, and “We Are the Champions”, estimated 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 ‘Freddie Mercury’ songs were developed and put together”, “while reminding us of their musical complexity and sophistication. “, underlined Gabriel Heaton, specialist in the manuscripts at Sotheby’s.
These pages reveal the artist’s hard work, his “incredible care” in creating Queen’s signature vocal harmonies, he added.
“The lyrics are amazing because they show how hard he worked. He wasn’t just throwing words on a sheet of paper, but you really see his focus, the thought, the care with the lyrics, the changes and edits,” he said. is delighted in New York Cassandra Hatton, head of pop culture at Sotheby’s.
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 jumpsuit satin worn by Freddie Mercury in the video for “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 1975.
The complete catalog of the sale must be unveiled at the end of July at the beginning of August.
When the auction of 1,500 objects, including stage costumes and paintings by Matisse or Picasso that belonged to Freddie Mercury, was announced in April, Sotheby’s had estimated that it would reach a total of at least six million pounds (more than €6.7 million).
Profits will be donated in part to the Mercury Phoenix Trust and Elton John Aids Foundation, two organizations involved in the fight against AIDS.
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