Today Sotheby’s auctioned off a handwritten working draft of Bob Dylan’s lyrics for his legendary song “Like A Rolling Stone.” The lyrics, which are penciled on stationery from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, D.C., sold for $2,045,000. In addition to the finished lyrics, the sheets contain Dylan’s experiments with other lyrics, like “Al Capone” written in the margin of one page, and doodles of animals and clothing.
The sale of “Like A Rolling Stone” nearly doubled the previous record for the auction price of song lyrics, a record which is currently held by a pair of John Lennon drafts: of “A Day In the Life,” which sold for $1.2 million in 2010, and “All You Need Is Love,” which sold for $1.25 million in 2005. The “Like A Rolling Stone” lyric sheet is part of a Sotheby’s collection called “A Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk,” which also contains cool rock memorabilia like gold records from the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and James Brown’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction award.
A draft of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” that contains many unused lyrics but a nearly finished chorus that shows The Boss’ rigorous writing process sold for $197,000 last year.
To put those sheets into perspective, Tito Jackson’s draft of the Jackson 5’s “ABC” sold for the bargain price of $1330 in 2012.
A draft Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” which was written by Brian May but transcribed by Freddie Mercury for studio use is available now, if you’d like to add it to your collection.