Elton John’s Live Aid and Dodger Stadium grand piano sells for $915,000

A grand piano that was played by Elton John during his famous Dodger Stadium and Live Aid performances has been sold at auction for a whopping $915,000.

The sale was handled by Heritage Auctions, who say that the price of the Rocket Man’s old joanna was propelled into the stratosphere as both online and phone bidders got involved. In fact, the auction house says that it is now the most expensive musical instrument it has ever sold.

The Steinway Model D grand is said to have been used on tour by John from the 1970s up to the mid-’90s. The star has even inscribed the piano with the words “Enjoy this as much as I have, Elton John."

Elton John Steinway

(Image credit: Heritage Auctions)

Once he took ownership of the piano, John is said to have asked Steinway to re-weight the keys to provide a lighter and more responsive touch. He played it during John Lennon’s final live performance - when he duetted with John on Whatever Gets You Through The Night at Madison Square Garden in 1974 - and Paul McCartney used it to play Let It Be during the Live Aid finale in 1985.

Other famous fingers to have touched the instrument include Freddie Mercury’s - he used it on Queen’s A Day At The Races tour in 1977. Having grown tired of using what he considered to be mediocre pianos, he asked John if he could borrow it.

The winning bid for the piano came from the Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Isray, who can now add it to his already extensive collection of rock memorabilia. This is said to include handwritten lyrics from Bob Dylan, another piano that was once the property of John Lennon, and a drum kit from The Beatles.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.