Scribbled Draft Lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” Sells for Record $2 Million

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
June 24 2014 5:31 PM

Scribbled Draft Lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” Sells for Record $2 Million

450960782-the-most-popular-manuscript-ever-to-apper-at-auction
Bob Dylan's original hand written lyrics for the 1965 epic "Like A Rolling Stone" sold at auction.

Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

A handwritten draft of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” sold for more than $2 million at a Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday. The hefty sum for the lyrics written on four pages of hotel stationary that includes scribbled edits and doodles set a new record for a popular music manuscript, according to the Associated Press. The sale nearly doubled the previous record set in 2010, Reuters reports, “when John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for ‘A Day in the Life,’ the final track from the 1967 album ‘Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ sold for $1.2 million, according to Sotheby's.”

Dylan recorded the song, which was named by Rolling Stone as the greatest song of all time in 2004, in 1965 when he was only 24 years old.

Advertisement

Here’s more on Dylan’s rough draft via Rolling Stone:

… the sheets do feature some lyrics that didn't make the final cut, including the phrase, "…dry vermouth/You'll tell the truth" and an abandoned line about Al Capone. The lyrics also show Dylan's various attempts to build a rhyme off of the "How does it feel" line with phrases like, "it feels real," "does it feel real," "get down and kneel," "raw deal" and "shut up and deal."

And a few more of Dylan’s early versions of the song from NPR:

In the line that was recorded as: "You used to laugh about / Everybody that was hanging out," Dylan had originally written "Everybody that was down and out?" before crossing it out… After "Now you don't seem so proud," is written "Voice is down" and "Head's in the cloud… " After the plaintive and cynical refrain "How does it feel?" Dylan has written in mixed caps: "IS IT AINT Quite ReaL."


Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
  Business
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
  Life
Outward
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.