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John Lennon: Why George Michael Bought the ‘Imagine’ Piano

John Lennon: Why George Michael Bought the ‘Imagine’ Piano

John Lennon: Why George Michael Bought the ‘Imagine’ Piano
April 13
10:10 2020

John Lennon’s “Imagine” is the most famous song from his solo career. It’s an anthem for peace and antimaterialism. Interestingly, the piano on which John composed it was owned by a different artist: George Michael.

Michael made music which was pretty far removed from John’s. However, that didn’t stop him from admiring John’s work. Here’s why he saw his purchase of John’s piano as charitable.

John Lennon playing a piano similar to the one he wrote “Imagine” on. | Icon and Image/Getty Images

The early history of the piano John Lennon wrote ‘Imagine’ on

Firstly, here is the early history of the piano. It was built in Hamburg in 1970. The white piano was very new when John released “Imagine” in 1971. The piano can be seen in the music video for “Imagine,” which features John and his wife, Yoko Ono. Whoever built the piano probably had no idea it would become a sought-after collector’s item!

In 1992, a private collector purchased the piano. That collector loaned the piano to Liverpool’s Beatles museum. Then, the collector began to think about selling the piano to wealthy Fab Four fans in Japan or the U.S.

The Beatles are a major part of England’s musical heritage. Consequently, some English people didn’t like the idea of the piano leaving the country. One of these English people was Michael.

George Michael buys the paino

The video for John Lennon’s “Imagine” featuring the white piano

Michael purchased the piano for £1.67 million, a price he said was “worth every penny.” Michael beat out smaller bids from other British celebrities, particularly Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis and pop star Robbie Williams. Michael wanted to buy the piano so people could see it. He wanted it to be in Liverpool. He also dreamed of writing a song on the piano before he returned it to the Liverpool museum.

Michael explained “Having paid one and a half million pounds for it I’d really like to play something on it and stick it on my next record. So as I’m recording right now I think I’ll hold on to it for a couple of months and see if I can get it on to my new record and then it’s going back to the museum in Liverpool where I think it rightly belongs. It’s not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected, it should be seen by people.”

What George Michael did with the piano

George Michael of Wham! bought the piano on which John Lennon wrote “Imagine.” | Michael Putland/Getty Images

Discussing the song he’d write on the piano, Michael said it wouldn’t be “Imagine, Part II.” He said he could never hope to write anything as good as John’s anthem. In addition, he said the song he’d write on the piano would sound like the famously simple composition “Chopsticks” compared to “Imagine.” It doesn’t appear Michael ever wrote a song on the piano.

Michael was interested in keeping the piano in England. However, he still sent it to parts of the U.S., such as Virginia and Tennessee. Perhaps he wanted to allow people in other parts of the world to see the piano. Certainly, “Imagine”’s message of peace is relevant to all people during all time.

Source: John Lennon: Why George Michael Bought the ‘Imagine’ Piano

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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