From the People Magazine article “POP QUIZ with George Michael” published on November 13, 2000
George Michael recently paid $2.1 million at an auction for the upright Steinway piano that John Lennon used to compose “Imagine.” (It had been on display in Liverpool’s Beatles Story Museum.) Scoop asked Michael, 37, about his motivation.
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What prompted your purchase?
It is so symbolic of the best elements of the ’60s and ’70s youth culture, great music and a desire to change things for the better. As a songwriter, it’s such an amazing thing to own, and as far as paying the $2.1 million, it’s worth every penny.
What will you do with it?
Even though I now own the piano personally, I don’t see any good reason for not leaving it with the people of Liverpool. It’s something that should be looked at, marveled at. So it will be back in the museum there soon. But first I want to write something on it.
What do the Beatles mean to you?
I wish I could say that I grew up with them, but I was too young, and my parents’ only Beatles record was “Let It Be.” But like so many others, I found them for myself many years later. They remain the strongest force in popular music simply because they were the first and—more important—the best.
What’s best about Lennon’s music?
Pure quality. Simplicity and heart. That is really all that great pop music needs. Of
Is there some of Lennon’s influence in any of your songs?
Oh, definitely. That’s an easy one. “Praying for Time” from 1990. It’s meant as a tribute to him, and incidentally I think it’s probably my best lyric. I think John would have liked it. Who knows?
Have any other treasures from rock stars?
No, this is the first piece of rock history I have ever wanted. It will probably be the last. When I was a kid I would keep my ticket stubs and concert programs. I know I still have the ticket for my first-ever Elton John show. I was 13. I went with a friend, and of
Any Michael artifacts worth saving?
Probably my cross earring and my old BSA [motorcycle] jacket and, if I am honest, the “Choose Life” T-shirt [worn by Wham, his former pop duo].
Bothered that some rock memorabilia ends up in cheesy restaurant chains?
Not at all. People get to see it that way. As long as it is being preserved, who cares?
- George Michael and John Lennon’s Imagine Piano: Tracking the Journey through News Clippings
- George Michael Star 94 FM Radio Interview (2004)
- George Michael’s John Lennon Piano Peace Tour
- George Michael on ‘Listen Without Prejudice’ (1990)
- George Michael on His Songwriting (No. 1 Magazine, 1985)