Bob Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone' auctioned off for $2 million

A draft of one of Bob Dylan's most famous songs was sold for a record price Tuesday in New York.

By

  • close
    This undated file photo, provided by Sotheby’s, shows a working draft of Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” one of the most popular songs of all time.
    View Caption

A draft of one of the most popular songs of all time, Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," sold Tuesday for $2 million, which the auction house called a world record for a popular music manuscript.

A working draft of the finished song in Dylan's own hand went to an unidentified bidder at Sotheby's. The selling price, $2.045 million, included a buyer's premium.

The manuscript is "the only known surviving draft of the final lyrics for this transformative rock anthem," Sotheby's said.

Recommended: Bob Dylan: 20 best lyrics on his birthday

The draft is written in pencil on four sheets of hotel letterhead stationery with revisions, additions, notes and doodles: a hat, a bird, an animal with antlers. The stationery comes from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Dylan was 24 when he recorded the song in 1965 about a debutante who becomes a loner when she's cast from upper-class social circles.

"How does it feel To be on your own" it says in his handwriting. "No direction home Like a complete unknown Like a rolling stone."

Scrawls seem to reflect the artist's experimentation with rhymes.

The name "Al Capone" is scrawled in the margin, with a line leading to the lyrics "Like a complete unknown."

Another note says: "...dry vermouth, you'll tell the truth..."

Sotheby's described the seller as a longtime fan from California "who met his hero in a non-rock context and bought directly from Dylan." He was not identified.

The manuscript was offered as part of Sotheby's rock and pop music sale.

In 2010, John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for "A Day in the Life," the final track on the Beatles' classic 1967 album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," sold for $1.2 million, the record for such a sale.

Share this story:
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...