Freddie Mercury’s unseen handwritten Queen lyrics and artwork unveiled in new photos

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Queen’s self-titled debut album and to mark this major moment Sotheby’s have released photographs of stunning items from that time in Freddie Mercury’s history.

His ex-fiancée Mary Austin who he left half his estate to upon his death in 1991, is putting many of his personal items up for auction later this year after they’ve been on display in exhibitions.

On Queen’s debut album release on July 13, 1973, Sotheby’s wrote: “Having established themselves as Queen just a year earlier, the newly-formed band first started recording their debut album in 1971 at De Lane Lea’s new state of the art studios in Wembley, before transferring to Trident Studios in Soho, London.

“With a number of live performances behind them, they had a wealth of material to draw on, but it was nonetheless a time-consuming and likely frustrating process.

“Not least because the band were only allowed into the studio during so-called ‘Dark Time’, between the hours of 11pm and 2am, when it wasn’t being used by other artists such as Lou Reed, who was recording the album Transformer at the time, and later David Bowie, who was recording Aladdin Sane.”

Items from Freddie Mercury: A World Of His Own revealed today linked to the 50th anniversary of Queen’s debut album include a skilful drawing by the singer depicting the band in lavish Cavalier costumes.

A caption reads: “Likely a concept image for the cover of Queen’s first album, just as the words on the sheet, Dearie Me’ were considered as a title for the album. Estimate: £1,500-2,000.” Also unveiled was Freddie’s original artwork for the iconic Queen crest which incorporated the zodiac signs of the band members.

These were fairies for Virgo (Mercury), lions for Leo (Deacon and Taylor) and a crab for Cancer. This drawing is expected to fetch between £8,000-12000. Next up are Freddie’s handwritten lyrics (heavy with musical annotations and notes re. recording and mixing process) for six songs featured on this first album, including extensive drafts for My Fairy King – the song that includes the lines ‘Mother Mercury / Look what they’ve done to me’. Estimate: £30,000-50,000.”

And most incredibly of all: “Fragments from other early songs can also be found in a previously unrecorded red notebook from the early 1970s. One of Mercury’s most prized possessions, including working lyrics (Stone Cold Crazy, Liar, and Keep Yourself Alive) and songs by other artists Queen were performing at the time, as well as doodles, designs for Queen’s logo and fragments of unpublished songs. Estimate: £120,000–180,000.”

To find out more about Freddie Mercury: A World Of His Own, click here.

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