Dylan Lyrics Sell For $2M


Bob Dylan’s original hand-scrawled lyrics to ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ have sold at auction for $2.05 million, breaking the record for a ‘popular music’ manuscript.

However, nobody knows who the seller is. Sotheby’s auction house said only that it was a fan from California ‘who met his hero in a non-rock context and bought directly from Dylan.’ The buyer also remains unidentified.

The pre-sale estimate for Dylan’s original handwritten lyrics to the 1965 hit song was between $1 million and $2 million. The sale price on Tuesday beat the previous record which was $1.2 million in 2010 for 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.

According to Time, Dylan’s notes include a near-final draft of the lyrics, a few scattered doodles of animals in the margins, and several rhymes that never made the final cut. ‘Dry vermouth, you’ll tell the truth,’ reads one discarded phrase, and one familiar phrase ‘like a complete unknown’ is connected by a line to the name ‘Al Capone.’

Dylan reportedly wrote the lyrics on four pages of hotel stationary in mid-June, 1965, during a stay at the Hotel Roger Smith Hotel in Washington D.C., according to Sotheby’s. He later recorded the song when he was 24 years old.

Brian Wise

Brian Wise was the Editor of Addicted To Noise‘s Australian site from 1997 – 2002. The site won two ONYA Awards as Best Online Music Magazine in 1999 & 2000. He has also been Editor since its reincarnation in 2013. He also presents the weekly music interview program Off The Record on 102.7 Triple R-FM (rrr.org.au) in Melbourne. It is networked to 45+ stations across Australia on the Community Radio Network and is a four-time winner of the Best Music Program Award from the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia. In 2012, it was nominated as a finalist in the Excellence in Music Programming category. Brian was also the Founding Editor & Publisher of Rhythms Magazine and is now its Senior Contributing Editor.

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