Mama Mia! Queen fans are in for a surprise as an early draft of Queen’s iconic hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” has been revealed to be titled “Mongolian Rhapsody”.
The draft unveils a different working title previously unknown to fans and scholars alike – “Mongolian Rhapsody.”
On one page of the 15-page draft, songwriter Freddie Mercury wrote the words “Mongolian Rhapsody” near the top before crossing out the first word and replacing it with “Bohemian.”
The draft is part of a collection of Mercury’s belongings being sold by his friend and heir, Mary Austin.
In addition to the working title revelation, the draft provides insights into the song’s evolution.
An early version of a verse reads, “Mama, There’s a war began, I’ve got to leave tonight, I’ve got to stand and fight.”
The familiar exclamations like Galileo, fandango, and Scaramouche are present, along with alternative words that didn’t make the final cut, such as matador and Belladonna.
The handwritten lyrics, estimated to be worth £1.2 million, offer a glimpse into Mercury’s meticulous songwriting process.
Sotheby’s specialist Gabriel Heaton noted the extensive redrafting and experimentation present in the lyrics, emphasizing the care and detail Mercury put into perfecting his craft.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” initially spent nine weeks at No. 1 in the UK and became Queen’s third biggest-selling single.
Its alternative title, “Mongolian Rhapsody,” remained unknown until now, surprising even prominent Queen biographers.
The auction, scheduled for September, will also feature Mercury’s handwritten lyrics for other Queen classics.
The unveiling of the “Mongolian Rhapsody” draft provides a fascinating glimpse into the creative journey behind one of rock’s most beloved songs, solidifying its enduring appeal and its place in music history.