Freddie Mercury's Original Title & Handwritten Notes For 'Bohemian Rhapsody' Revealed

2 June 2023 | 2:33 pm | Mary Varvaris

As Rolling Stone shows, the track was originally called Mongolian Rhapsody before it was replaced with Bohemian.


Queen (Credit: Terry O'Neill)

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Queen’s most iconic hit, Bohemian Rhapsody, could have been called Mongolian Rhapsody, Freddie Mercury's handwritten lyric sheets have revealed.

Sotheby's, the fine art auction house auctioning over 1,500 items that belonged to Freddie Mercury, has unveiled the iconic photographs of the lyric sheets, with the right buyer expected to purchase a piece of music history for 800,000 - 1,200,000 GBP.

As Rolling Stone shows, the track was originally called Mongolian Rhapsody before Mercury scribbled out the Mongolian, replacing it with Bohemian. “Is this the real life/ Or is this just fantasy?” also feature, evidently always slated to be the opening line for Bohemian Rhapsody.

Other early lines were frantically written, including “Mama/ There’s a war began/ I’ve got to leave tonight,” and variations of the beloved “Galileo!” “Scaramouch!” “Fandango!” chant, including “Momento,” “Belladonna,” and “Matador”.

Source: Sotheby's

Source: Sotheby's

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Mercury’s “splendid” items will go up for sale on 6 September in London as part of the A World of His Own exhibit. You can register your interest in bidding here.

Some of the most exciting items up for auction include Mercury’s handwritten lyric sheets (some of them unfinished) for hits such as We Are The Champions and Killer Queen. His waistcoats, guitars, and moustache combs used in music videos for Crazy Little Thing Called Love and These Are The Days Of Our Lives are also for sale.

Sotheby’s provided a press release with Mary Austin, loved by Mercury, revealing that she’s looked after his items for over 30 years but feels it’s time to let go.

"For many years now, I have had the joy and privilege of living surrounded by all the wonderful things that Freddie sought out and so loved,” Austin commented in a statement. “But the years have passed, and the time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life.”

Austin continued, "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 upcoming events] 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."