The Steinway piano, which the late Beatle wrote and recorded his 1971 song ‘Imagine’ on, was bought by Michael at auction for £1.45 million back in October 2000. He later toured the piano around the world “as a symbol of peace” and used it during the recording of his song ‘Patience’.
Speaking to reporters at the time of the auction purchase, the late singer said that “it’s not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected, it should be seen by people”.
To mark what would’ve been Lennon’s 80th birthday this Friday (October 9), the George Michael estate have this week loaned the piano to the Strawberry Field exhibition in Liverpool.
In a statement, the estate said that they were “proud to be associated with Strawberry Field and the work that the Salvation Army do at the centre [in] helping young adults with learning difficulties acquire the skills and experience they so badly need to get employment”.
“We know that the piano will be a source of hope and inspiration to all who come to see it… not only during these difficult times but for many years to come, in the same way that it inspired George [after] he bought it some 20 years ago.”
John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird, who is the Honorary President of Strawberry Field, said in a statement: “Bringing John’s piano to Strawberry Field for the first time to mark what would have been his 80th birthday is a wonderful gesture – one that will bring joy to the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Liverpool every year to get closer to the history of The Beatles and John’s legacy.
“Strawberry Field played a pivotal role in John’s childhood as one of the first places that sparked his young imagination whilst living on nearby Menlove Avenue. It’s fitting therefore that this piano should find a new home here, where The Salvation Army continues to do such good work with young adults with learning difficulties.”
All funds raised by paying visitors to the exhibition will be used to help change the lives of young people with learning difficulties.
Last weekend Paul McCartney featured on a special BBC Radio 2 programme to celebrate John Lennon’s 80th birthday, during which he reflected on meeting Lennon for the first time.