George Michael Buys Lennon Piano

updated 04/21/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/23/1997 12:00AM

George Michael, 37, was identified this morning in London as yesterday's buyer of a $2.1 million piano that once belonged to John Lennon and on which the late Beatle composed "Imagine." The instrument, an upright walnut Steinway, came up for auction Tuesday and was the center of an international dispute, with loyalists demanding that it be kept in Britain. (Bidding was held in the Hard Rock Cafes in both London and New York as well as over the telephone and the Internet.) A spokesman for the auction told Reuters that Michael intends to keep the piano in Britain.

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