Reporting Marie Osborne
DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s considered one of Motown’s most-prized musical instruments, a nine-foot long, 1877 Steinway piano, and now it’s back home. The piano received an extensive renovation thanks to Beatles legend Paul McCartney.
Allen Rawls, interim CEO of the Motown Museum, said the piano will have to wait just a little longer till it can be played.
“A piano is a living instrument – it’s wood, it’s metal and so it expands and contracts so it needs about two weeks so it can fully acclimate to its permanent home,” said Rawls to WWJ’s Marie Osborne.
He said the history of the piano is not fully recorded because Motown Records was too busy making music.
“The thing about a recording company that’s in the midst of actually being active, they don’t sit down and say ‘on this day this person sat down and wrote this song at this particular paino,” said Rawls.
At the time Detroit was know as much for manufacturing cars as it was for making musical hits.
Rawls said it’s like a member of the family returning home.
“We’re all very happy that it’s making its journey back home to where it belongs,” Rawls said.
Rawls says another tuner will work on the piano in two weeks, which is when it can be played again.
During a summer visit to a Motown recording studio, the former Beatle said he wanted to run his fingers along an 1877 Steinway grand piano played by some Detroit music greats he considers idols.
“He was disappointed when we told him it didn’t play,” Motown Historical Museum chief executive Audley Smith Jr., told The Detroit News.
Undaunted, the legendary roll and roller from England told museum officials following a July concert at Comerica Park that he wanted to help restore it.