Lennon's piano set for Memphis tribute


MEMPHIS -- John Lennon's piano, on tour as a symbol of peace, is set to arrive Friday in Memphis to commemorate the anniversary of the death of civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

Lennon composed his 1971 song "Imagine" on the Steinway upright piano, which was purchased by pop star George Michael in 2000 for $2.1 million.

Memphis is the second stop on the tour that will include the site of the World Trade Center in Manhattan, the bombed federal building in Oklahoma City and the Branch Davidian compound destroyed in a fiery siege in Waco, Texas.

The first tour stop was Dallas, where President Kennedy was assassinated.

"This is about hopes and dreams and the world condition," Michael's partner, Kenny Goss, said Tuesday.

The Memphis stop coincides with the 39th anniversary of King's death on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, now the visual centerpiece of the National Civil Rights Museum. King was assassinated April 4, 1968.

Goss said neither he nor Michael planned to attend.

"It would be completely distracting. What we're focusing on is the message John Lennon was trying to promote," he said.

The piano is being photographed at each site for a possible book and documentary on world peace.