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Wednesday, 22 August, 2001, 23:40 GMT 00:40 UK
Lennon's piano back on show
John Lennon's piano
Lennon bought the piano in 1970
John Lennon's piano - on which he wrote his famous song Imagine - is back on display after new owner George Michael returned it to Liverpool's Beatles Story museum.

Michael paid 1.45m to keep the piano in the UK after its owner, who had been loaning it to the museum, put it up for sale.


Lennon's Imagine piano is back with us for everyone to see

Sheath Johnson, Beatles Story museum
The pop star announced he would return the piano to public display, quashing fears that it would disappear into the hands of a wealthy Beatles fan in Japan or the US.

Michael said: "It's not the type of thing that should be in storage somewhere or being protected - it should be seen by people."

The piano has been returned to Liverpool under police escort and goes on display on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old Steinway Model Z upright piano, which was built in Hamburg, is not the white grand piano which featured in the Imagine video, but the instrument on which Lennon originally wrote the song.

Recording

Lennon bought the piano at Steinway's London store in December 1970 after which it was delivered to his then home in Tittenhurst Park, Berkshire.

George Michael
George Michael: Piano should be "seen by people"
Video footage from the recordings sessions of the Imagine album show Lennon using the piano to play Imagine to his musicians, the Plastic Ono Band, for the first time.

Beatles Story curator Shelagh Johnson thanked Michael for his generosity, saying: "We were overjoyed when we learned that George Michael was the buyer, and completely over the moon when he said he wanted to bring the piano back to us.

"His generosity will be appreciated by everyone in Liverpool and thousands of people from the UK and all over the world who visit us each year.

"We're looking forward to telling the world that John Lennon's Imagine piano is back with us for everyone to see," she said.

Imagine was recently voted the best lyric of all time in a nationwide BBC poll.

See also:

09 Oct 99 | Entertainment
Lennon song tops all-time poll
20 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Lennon's piano to stay in Liverpool
12 Jun 01 | Showbiz
Lennon's childhood house for sale
18 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Imagine owning Lennon's piano
06 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Yoko's anniversary peace call
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