The estate of George Michael are loaning John Lennon’s piano to the Strawberry Field exhibition.
The Steinway piano, which Lennon wrote and recorded his 1971 hit ‘Imagine’ on was purchased by Michael at an auction in 2000. The Wham singer paid 1.45 million pounds for the piano. At the time, the 1.45 million pounds paid for the piano was a record for the most expensive piece of music memorabilia.
Speaking to journalists in 2000, Michael said “It’s not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected, it should be seen by people”.
Michael used the piano on his tours and declared it as a “symbol of peace”. Michael also used the piano in recording his song ‘Patience’.
A statement from the estate said that they are “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.”
The piano will go on display from Friday 9th October. The instrument was cherished by Lennon. In archive film footage from 1971, Lennon is seen at the piano composing ‘Imagine’ and turns to his keyboard player and says, “that’s the one I like the best”.
Strawberry Field was the site of a former Salvation Army home and was the inspiration for The Beatles hit ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. The Salvation Army continue to look after the site in order to raise funds to help young people with learning difficulties. Julia Baird, who is John Lennon’s sister and Honorary President of Strawberry Field has expressed her gratitude to Michael’s estate.
“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.”
Baird added “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 visitors to the Strawberry Field exhibition will be donated to the Salvation Army. Donations to restore Strawberry Fields and to help the Salvation Army can be made online here.
The Strawberry Field exhibition is just the latest event announced for the global celebration of John Lennon’s 80th birthday.
As previously reported here at Nova, a popup TV channel called LENNON80 goes live on Friday 9th October to celebrate Lennon’s birthday.
GIMME SOME TRUTH is a new album being released as well. The record will have 36 brand new remixes of Lennon’s best hits.