Freddie Mercury song book

On June 29 2016, Freddie Mercury’s lyric book from the period of 1988 - 1990 was sold to a private bidder for £62,500 by Bonhams Auction House, Knightsbridge

Freddie’s Challenge spiral-bound notebook, the 'marbled' blue front cover inscribed in black marker, 𝐌𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐮𝐫𝐲 𝐒𝐨𝐧𝐠 𝐁𝐨𝐨𝐤.  

There are lined pages, containing 19 numerous complete or partial and alternate/unused lyrics and song structures in various ballpoints, felt-tip pens, pencil and crayon, most in Freddie's handwriting (The pad contains songs from two albums.) The songs’ contained in this notebook were not all written by Freddie. 

There are some entries by Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon, titles include 'Party', 'Was It All Worth It?', 'Rain Must Fall', 'Hang On In There', 'Khashoggi's Ship', 'My Baby Does Me', 'I Want It All', 'Too Much Love Will Kill You', 'The Miracle', 'The Hit Man,’ 'Scandal', 'Don't Try So Hard', 'Headlong', 'These Are The Days Of Our Lives', 'I Can't Live With You', 'Innuendo', 'Ride The Wild Wind, ‘I Want It All’ and 'The Show Must Go On', also included are several sketches by Freddie, a few lines of 'Innuendo' written by Brian in pencil on a menu from 'Wasted Space', 8th August 1990, and lines of greeting for the limited edition Fan Club Convention flexi-disc, 8½ x 11½ in (21.5 x 29.5cm)

Fans know that on the few pages released by Bonhams, the songs were written by Brian especially ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You,’ this song was to go on the ‘Miracle’ album, it was recorded but due to legal issues regarding royalties, as there were multiple songwriters and Queen were sharing credits, it had to be shelved until Queen’s final studio album ‘Made In Heaven.’  

Too much love will kill you

Footnotes included in the auction: 

This notebook provides a poignant record of the last albums that Queen would record together but is also a testament to the creative energy within the band. Queen began recording for what would be 'The Miracle' album in January 1988 and worked on it for a year at Olympic and Townhouse Studios in London and Mountain Studios in Montreux. The front cover of the notebook bears a label from a stationery shop at 89 Goldhawk Road, a short distance from the Townhouse Studios. 

The album was released in May 1989, shortly after Queen had started work on the next album, 'Innuendo'. Recording ran from March 1989 to November 1990, at Metropolis Studios, London, and Mountain Studios in Switzerland. 

The band had intended to release the album in time for Christmas but Freddie's declining health meant this was delayed until February 1991. Although increasingly frail, Freddie's vocal performances on the album are remarkable. 

According to Brian May whom recalled (about the recording of 'The Show Must Go On'): "I said, 'Fred, I don't know if this is going to be possible to sing'. And he went, 'I'll fucking do it, darling' — vodka down — and went in and killed it, completely lacerated that vocal."
Show must go on

Stephen Maycock, a consultant specialist in entertainment memorabilia at Bonhams, told The Guardian that this notebook is particularly special.

Maycock said, “It’s a poignant record of that specific period, but it also struck me that it is a testament to the creative energy in the band.  Despite his illness and increasing frailty the ideas were still there. His performance on that last album was remarkable considering how frail he was, his vocal powers on some of the tracks are just extraordinary … he did have this incredible drive.”  He also added, “We see and sell lyrics from all sorts of different artists but they tend to be one piece of paper for one song.  But, to have a notebook which contains tracks recorded over a three-year period is really exceptional. I can’t think of another one.”

The auction house tracked down the exact shop on London's Goldhawk Road where Mercury purchased the standard issue notebook. "There are plenty of collectors out there who I'm sure would love to have this – it's because it is so personal, he had it there with him for nearly three years. It gives you a really close connection," Maycock said.

An extraordinary piece of Freddie history!