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Julien’s Auctions to sell Elvis Presley and Lady Gaga’s first pianos


A forthcoming sale at Julien’s Auctions will present a tale of two pianos, which helped forge the music careers of two icons past and present: Elvis Presley and Lady Gaga.

The sale at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square will offer the first piano ever purchased by the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, along with the childhood piano of Stefani Germanotta, who would go on to become one of the biggest pop stars of the 21st century.

First up is the Stroud maple and mahogany upright piano which Elvis bought at the age of 20, having recorded several singles with Sun Records and established himself as a regional star.

On September 30, 1955, he walked into the O.K. Houck Piano Company Inc. in his home town of Memphis, Tennessee, and bought the piano – paying $50 up front and financing the rest over the next 11 months, as his relative fame had not yet brought him any great wealth.

He kept the piano for years, and when he acquired a new one for the music room at Graceland in the 1960s, he moved his old upright Stroud to the room of Memphis Mafia member Joe Esposito. He later gifted the piano to his cook, Christine Strickland, and in July 1992 it was sold to the Memphis Music Hall of Fame Museum.

It will now cross the block with an estimate of $200,000-$300,000.

The second piano on offer at Julien’s was the childhood piano of Lady Gaga, on which she took her first musical steps towards stardom.

The Everett Piano Company dyna-tension upright piano, made circa 1964-1965, was originally owned by Gaga’s paternal grandparents, and later gifted to her parents. According to the singer’s mother:

“When Stefani started to crawl, she would use the leg of the piano to pull herself up and stand, and in doing so, her fingers would eventually land on the keys. She would stay there and just keep pressing the keys to hear the sound. We would then start to hold her up or sit on the bench and let her tinker.”

The prodigal performer wrote her first sing at the age of just five and, having taken lessons on the Everett upright, quickly graduated to playing a baby grand piano.

The upright was later lent to the Rock and Roll Music Hall of Fame, for display as part of the Women Who Rock exhibition, and will now be offered with an estimate of $100,000-$200,000 – with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Gaga’s own Born This Way Foundation.

The Julien’s Music Icons sale takes place at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, New York on Saturday May 21.


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