The world-famous piano that John Lennon used to compose and record one of the great peace anthems of the 20th century is on loan to our exhibition, courtesy of the estate of the late George Michael.
‘Imagine' is a song from John Lennon’s 1971 album of the same name. Composed on Lennon’s walnut-finished upright Steinway model Z piano at Tittenhurst Park, England, the song's lyrics reflect peace, love and politics. For many, Imagine is considered to be the world’s peace anthem. It was even featured in the closing ceremony of the London Olympic Games in 2012.
British singer-songwriter George Michael purchased John Lennon’s walnut-finished upright Steinway model Z piano on 18th October 2000, paying 1.45 million British pounds - that would have been around 3.1 million US dollars - at the time setting the record for the most money ever paid for a piece of music memorabilia.
It was always George’s intention that the iconic musical instrument should be taken to Liverpool to be enjoyed by the people in Lennon’s home city. “It’s not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected, it should be seen by people,” said George to journalists at time of purchase.
The piano, which was toured globally by George Michael as a symbol of peace in the early 2000s, has never before been placed in a location so steeped in John Lennon history. One of the most cherished musical instruments of all time, archive film footage from 1971 shows a relaxed Lennon at the piano composing ‘Imagine' before he turns to his keyboard player to remark : “That’s the one I like best.”
Strawberry Field holds a special place in the hearts of Beatles fans the world over for inspiring the song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. The song is based, in part, on Lennon’s childhood memories of visits to the Salvation Army children’s home to play in its suburban gardens.
George Michael, a huge fan of The Beatles and John Lennon, both composed on and played the piano, which can be heard on the title song of his Patience album. And it’s fitting that the piano should now take centre-stage at Strawberry Field, where all funds raised by paying visitors to the exhibition will be used to help change the lives of young people with learning difficulties.