'Bohemian Rhapsody' was first called 'Mongolian Rhapsody' per Freddie Mercury's personal notes

In an enlightening revelation from the annals of rock history, Freddie Mercury's personal scribblings reveal that the Queen hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" was initially called "Mongolian Rhapsody." His notes, currently on exhibit at Sotheby's Auction House in London, disclose how Mercury penciled the legendary song on stationery from the now-defunct British Midland Airways. Of particular note is the transition from the working title to the universally known one, signified by a striking cross-out of "Mongolian" and the inscription of "Bohemian Rhapsody" in its place.

The drafts also show the evolution of the song's lyrics. For instance, an early potential opening line for the second verse read, "Mama, There's a war began, I've got to leave tonight," which later became the iconic, "Mama, I just killed a man."

The notes don't reveal why the title and lyrics changed. Take a look at the note here.


The song manuscripts, which also include drafts for Queen classics including "Don't Stop Me Now," "Somebody to Love," and "We Are the Champions," come from a personal collection stored in the London home Mercury purchased in 1980, called Garden Lodge.

A selection of the items will be revealed for the first time at Sotheby's New York City from June 1 to June 8, before touring Los Angeles and Hong Kong and returning to London in August.