John Lennon’s piano used to compose and record his 1971 solo hit, ‘Imagine’, is on display at Liverpool’s Strawberry Field exhibition in honour of the late Beatles legend’s 80th birthday (09.10.20), courtesy of the estate of the late George Michael.
The Wham! star’s estate had the upright Steinway piano, purchased by the ‘Last Christmas’ hitmaker in 2000 , delivered to the Liverpool institution, which inspired The Beatles’ classic ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, just for the special occasion.
Released in 1967, the song is partly based on Lennon’s childhood memories of visits to the Salvation Army children’s home to play in its gardens.
Lennon’s sister, Julia Baird who is an Honorary President of Strawberry Field said in a statement: “Bringing John’s piano to Strawberry Field for the first time to mark what would have been his 80th birthday is a wonderful gesture one that will bring joy to the hundreds of thousands of people who visit Liverpool every year to get closer to the history of The Beatles and John’s legacy.
“Strawberry Field played a pivotal role in the John’s childhood as one of the first places that sparked his young imagination whilst living on nearby Menlove Avenue.
It’s fitting therefore that this piano should find a new home here where The Salvation Army continues to do such good work with young adults with learning difficulties.”
George had said when he purchased the instrument: “It’s not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected, it should be seen by people.”
The ‘Careless Whisper’ singer – who died in December 2016 – had toured the piano as a sign of peace in early 2000s.
His estate said: “The George Michael Estate is proud to be associated with Strawberry Field and the work that the Salvation Army do at the centre to help young adults with learning difficulties acquire the skills and experience they so badly need to get employment which work is even more vital today than it was when the Centre first opened.
Estate representatives have visited and been shown around the centre and the site, met with the staff and learned a great deal about the work which is done there and did not hesitate to agree to the loan of the iconic John Lennon ‘Imagine’ piano as part of the permanent exhibition they have on site especially as this is just the type of association that George would have wanted for this unique piece .
We know that the piano will be a source of hope and inspiration to all who come to see it and to the young people who attend Strawberry Field not only during these difficult times but for many years to come in the same way that it inspired George since he bought it some 20 years ago.”
George had himself composed on the piano and the title song from his final album, 2004’s ‘Patience’, was recorded on it.
Meanwhile, Friday (09.10.20) will also see a special tribute concert to celebrate Lennon – who was shot dead outside his Manhattan apartment in December 1980.
The second ‘Dear John’ show will take place virtually and see performances and tributes from the likes of KT Tunstall, former Genesis star Peter Gabriel, John Ilsley of Dire Straits and Graham Gouldman of 10cc.
Money raised will be donated to War Child UK.
To get tickets for the Strawberry Field exhibition head to www.strawberryfieldliverpool.co