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Mongolian Rhapsody?

Would Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" have been as well received and iconic if it was titled "Mongolian Rhapsody"?

No one will ever know, but that was one of the working titles Freddie Mercury had for the song.

This has come to light in Mercury's notes for the song, which are one of more than 1500 items of his being auctioned off by Sotheby's in September.

Mercury wrote "Mongolian Rhapsody" as one of the titles, but then crossed out Mongolian and wrote Bohemian above it.

The piece of paper also contains some of the words and phrases that actually made it into the song.

Mercury's onetime girlfriend Mary Austin is the one auctioning off more than 1500 of his belongings.

He left everything to her when he died in 1991, including handwritten lyrics, such as those to "We Are the Champions"; stage costumes, including his crown and velvet robe; paintings; clothes; instruments; home furnishings; and much more.

Mary tells the BBC, "The collection takes you deeper within the individual and the man I knew. You see the spectrum of his taste. It's a very intelligent, sophisticated collection."

Freddie also left Mary his London home, which has remained as he left it. But she is parting with many of its contents because she says she needs to put her affairs in order. "The time has come for me to take the difficult decision to close this very special chapter in my life. I decided that it wouldn't be appropriate for me to keep things back. If I was going to sell, I had to be brave and sell the lot."

Among the items estimated to bring in the big bucks are:

  • "Champions" lyrics -- $250,000 to $375,000.
  • Stage-worn replica of St. Edward's Crown worn by King Charles at the Coronation -- $75,000 to $100,000.
  • 1975 Martin D-35 acoustic guitar he used to write and record "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" -- $38,000 to $62,000.
  • Working lyrics to "Killer Queen" -- $62,000 to $88,000.
  • Pablo Picasso's portrait of his wife -- $62,000 to $88,000.
  • Portrait by the French painter Tissot, the last work of art he bought, a month before his death -- $500,00 to $750,000.

All 1500 items will go on display at Sotheby's in London in the summer with the sale to follow in September, with a total sales estimate of $7.5 million. Some of the proceeds will be donated to charity.

Freddie Mercury died on November 24th, 1991 from AIDS. He was 45.

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