Queen’s biggest hit nearly took its name from a different part of the Eastern Hemisphere, according to some handwritten notes by Freddie Mercury. A sheet of lyrics — soon to go to auction with about 1,500 more of the late singer’s personal items — appears to have some early scrawlings titled “Mongolian Rhapsody,” which would, of course, become what we know as “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
As Rolling Stone points out, the pages in question (featuring the logo of a now-defunct airline) includes some familiar zingers; “Is this the real life/ Or is this just fantasy?” seems to have been “Bohemian Rhapsody”‘s opening lines from the get-go. But we also see some lines that Mercury was evidently workshopping: “Mama/ There’s a war began/ I’ve got to leave tonight,” for one.
Additionally, the pages are also scattered with many alternatives to the unforgettable “Galileo!” “Scaramouch!” “Fandango!” chant: “Momento,” “Belladonna,” and “Matador” are a few, which we’d argue don’t quite pack the same punch.
If you’re interested in perusing the “Mongolian Rhapsody” lyrics yourself, you can register to bid in Sothelby’s upcoming auction exhibit Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own; they’re expected to only set you back about $1-1.5 million. You can also bid on more of Mercury’s handwritten working lyrics to songs like “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “We Are the Champions,” as well as some of his jewelry, a jacket he wore during Queen’s SNL performance, some filthy Adidas high-tops, and more.
See a photo of the “Mongolian Rhapsody” lyrics below.
The surviving Queen members are going on tour this fall with Adam Lambert; grab tickets at StubHub, where orders are 100% guaranteed through StubHub’s FanProtect program.