An unearthed draft of Queen‘s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has revealed that the classic song originally had a different name and lyrics.
According to one of 15 pages from early drafts for the rock opera, the famous 1975 hit penned by Freddie Mercury was shown to be titled ‘Mongolian Rhapsody’ which is crossed out on a piece of paper from the now-defunct airline, British Midland Airways.
Mercury’s original drafts are currently on display in a new auction exhibition at Sotheby’s Auction House in London, Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own, which shows some of his private collection and belongings.
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.
— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) May 31, 2023
Other edits were made to the song’s nearly six-minute-long famous second verse, which initially initially read, “Mama, there’s a war began, I’ve got to leave tonight.” The final version of the song’s lyrics read, “Mama, just killed a man.”
According to the New York Post, the manuscript of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is estimated to be auctioned between $100,000 and $150,000,000. Some of the other items on display include the manuscripts for ‘Somebody To Love’, ‘We Are The Champions’ and ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ which are all autographed by Mercury.
Roughly 1,500 items from his London home, which had gone untouched for 30 years, including a pair of his high-top Adidas sneakers, his aviator sunglasses, a personal leather jacket and other iconic Queen items are available to view. A portion of the sale’s income will go the Mercury Phoenix Trust and the Elton John Aids Foundation.
The exhibition will be showcased at Sotheby’s London from August 4 until September 5. Find out more information here.
Mary Austin, who has been handling Mercury’s estate and home since his passing in 1991, said in a statement per The Guardian: “Freddie was an incredible and intelligent collector who showed us that there is beauty and fun and conversation to be found in everything. I hope [the exhibitions and auctions] will be an opportunity to share all the many facets of Freddie, both public and private, and for the world to understand more about, and celebrate, his unique and beautiful spirit.”