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    Description

    Sir Elton John's Steinway Model D Grand Piano Number 426549 Used Exclusively in His Concerts from 1974 - 1993. Steinway & Sons, New York Grand Model D ebonized (black lacquer finish), 3 solid brass pedals, measuring 8
    feet, 11¾" long x 61 ¾" wide. Together with matching concert adjustable stool. Elton has signed on the gilded cast iron frame in permanent black ink, "Enjoy this as much as I have, Elton John."

    The tale of this fabled piano began when Steinway & Sons loaned it new to Elton John (ca. 1973-74). In the accompanying 23rd April 2021 report by Steinway & Sons London Technical Services Manager, David Widdicombe, the Model D Grand Piano Number 426549 was "completed on 9th June 1972, and placed on loan as Concert D 'CD-118.' Sold to a customer in Beverly Hills, California, on 15th August 1975. This customer was Elton John who used the instrument as a touring piano throughout the 1970's and 80's... The action regulation was customized and set up to Elton John's preference in the 1970's which included re-weighting the keys to provide a very light and responsive touch."

    Among the 1,000+ concerts in which Elton performed with this piano, one of the most memorable was with John
    Lennon at New York's Madison Square Garden - on 28 November 1974 - which was to be John Lennon's final live
    performance.

    Lennon stated in a 1980 interview with David Sheff that he "half-heartedly promised that if 'Whatever Gets You Thru the Night' became No. 1, which I had no reason to expect, I'd do Madison Square Garden with him [Elton]. So one day Elton called and said, 'Remember when you promised...' ...After I walked on [stage] they were all screaming and shouting. It was like Beatlemania. I was thinking 'What is this?' 'cause I hadn't heard it since the Beatles." In addition to "Whatever Gets You Thru the Night," Elton and John Lennon performed renditions of Beatles classics "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" and "I Saw Her Standing There." The recorded duet performance of "Lucy" hit #1 in the charts on 4 January 1975.

    In 1977 Elton wanted to take a rest from touring, so Freddie Mercury borrowed this very piano for Queen's entire 1977 "A Day at the Races" legendary World Tour. At the time, Queen and Elton John shared the same management company, John Reid Enterprises. This Steinway grand piano includes email correspondence from Peter Hince, Freddie Mercury's right-hand man and head of Queen's road crew from 1975 - 1986 (and author of Queen Unseen: My Life with the Greatest Rock Band of the 20th Century), stating, after Freddie Mercury becoming frustrated at having to use different pianos of varying quality at gigs, "Queen 'borrowed' Elton's piano for the entire 'Day At the Races' tour - 3 months in the USA from January '77 and then the summer UK & European '77 tour. No doubt having the same quality piano every show gave Fred more confidence in his playing and of course the sound quality too..."

    On July 13th 1985 this Steinway grand piano, now lacquered white as per Elton's request, once again made history by participating in one of the largest satellite link-ups and television broadcasts of all time - the Live Aid benefit concert held at Wembley Stadium. For the grand finale, and following Elton's performance, Paul McCartney performed "Let It Be" on this piano flanked by David Bowie, Bob Geldoff, Alison Moyet, Pete Townshend and joined by George Michael, Bono, U2, Linda McCartney, Duran Duran, Status Quo, etc... The event was watched by an estimated 1.9 billion people, about 40% of the world's population in 1985!

    Elton John toured exclusively with this Steinway Model D through to 1993, after which he signed with Yamaha to
    promote their pianos. Sir Elton kept this piano at his manager John Reid's house (and decorated it with Trompe l'oeil finish to match his manager's home décor). Elton subsequently had the piano refinished to its original black lacquer.

    The accompanying Steinway & Sons 2021 condition report states (in part): "The piano has been re-strung by Steinway & Sons (most likely in the 1980's) and the strings are in good condition with no breakages apparent. The cast iron frame has been re-gilded and has been signed by Elton John. It is structurally sound and the original fittings including the agraffes and duplex bridges are in good condition... The hammers appear to be the original New York heads and although there is some wear there is plenty of felt left to enable them to be re-shaped if necessary. The piano has been re-polished in high gloss ebonised polyester and this has been done to a high standard. The piano has previously been white and there is some evidence of residue within the piano. It was also painted in a decorative style prior to being repolished in black. The case is structurally sound, and the legs and lyre fit securely..."

    Provenance: Consigned by Sir Elton John and sold through Bonham's, London, Knightsbridge, 18 June 2008, Lot
    189. It should be noted that the auction listing made no mention of the fact that this piano was Sir Elton's exclusive,
    customized concert piano used from 1974 through 1993. The only piano in existence of comparable historical importance is John Lennon's Steinway upright piano he used to compose "Imagine" which sold for $2.1 million in 2000, a piano never seen by the public. Sir Elton John's Steinway Model D grand piano has been seen and heard by billions.

    Bidders note: This piano is located in the United Kingdom and special shipping arrangements will apply.

    List of concerts for Elton John Steinway D-426549 (1974 - 1993):
    1974 - 68 concerts, including Madison Square Garden with John Lennon.
    1975 - 22 concerts, including 2 legendary sell-out concerts at Dodger Stadium.
    1976 - 62 concerts.
    1977 - Loaned to Freddie Mercury for Queen's USA, EU & UK "A Day at the Races" Tour.
    1978 - 3 private concerts in Los Angeles, Paris & London.
    1979 - 124 concerts.
    1980 - 65 concerts (lacquered white).
    1981 - 2 concerts.
    1982 - 118 concerts, including 3 nights at Hollywood Bowl & 16 nights at Hammersmith Odeon.
    1984 - 129 concerts, including Sarajevo Olympic Ice Stadium.
    1985 - 35 concerts, including Live Aid Wembley Stadium watched by 1.9 billion people.
    1986 - 97 concerts, including 20 June Prince's Trust Rock Gala with Eric Clapton, Others at Wembley Arena, with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Tina Turner...with Princess Diana and Charles as guests.
    1988 - 39 concerts.
    1989 - 100 concerts.
    1990 - 31 concerts (lacquered black), including MTV New York unplugged.
    1991 - 5 concerts
    1992 - 92 concerts, including Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation Benefit Madison Square Garden, and Neil Young Bridge School Benefit Mountain View, CA.
    1993 - 91 concerts.



    COA from Heritage Auctions.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2021
    16th-18th Friday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 9,043

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