As with many of the lyrics held within this collection, the early draft text for Bohemian Rhapsody is written in black and blue ballpoint pen and pencil, across 15 pages of stationery from the now defunct British Midland Airways. One page shows that Mercury originally planned to call the song Mongolian Rhapsody, before crossing out Mongolian and replacing it with 'Bohemian’.
On another page, there is an alternative to the second verse line “Mama, just killed a man.” Instead, there is “Mama, There’s a war began, I’ve got to leave tonight.” A third page, focusing on the operatic section of the piece, is covered in a burst of words and phrases: “Galileo,” “Fandango,” “Scaramouche” and “Thunderbolts and lightning” are all on there, but so are other words that were never used such as “Matador” and “Belladonna.”
Other highlights include:
* autograph working lyrics to Somebody to Love, from 1976, estimated at £150,000- 200,000, spanning 19 pages with writing in black, blue, red and green ink
* a completely unseen, unrecorded red notebook from the early 1970s, estimated at £120,000-180,000. This is believed to be Freddie Mercury’s earliest ever notebook of lyrics, dating back to the period before Queen were signed as a band. As well as including his own working lyrics (Stone Cold Crazy, Liar, and Keep Yourself Alive) the notebook reveals which songs by other artists Queen were performing at the time, with set-lists for early gigs featuring Elvis Presley’s Jailhouse Rock and The Rolling Stones’ Stupid Girl. It also includes doodles, designs for Queen’s logo and fragments of unpublished songs. Notes are written across 42 pages in total with coffee stains to the cover.
* a yellow spiral bound A4 notepad with working lyrics and chords for songs from the album Jazz, estimated at £200,000-300,000
* seven leaves of autograph manuscript lyrics to Don’t Stop Me Now, estimated at £120,000-180,000