Nation & World News

Draft Of Bob Dylan’s ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ Sells For $2 Million

By Scott Neuman on June 24th, 2014

This post was updated at 5:50 p.m. ET.

Lyrics scribbled on hotel stationery circa 1965 that later became one of the most iconic rock songs of all time, Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” has fetched more than $2 million in an auction at Sotheby’s.

What the auction house describes as “the only known surviving draft of the final lyrics for this transformative rock anthem” is four pages written on stationery from The Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, D.C., containing line-outs, changes and doodles.

The song, written when Dylan was just 24 but already well on his way to stardom, appeared on the album Highway 61 Revisited. It rose to No. 2 on the Billboard charts, despite the reluctance of some radio stations to air it because of its length (more than six minutes at a time when most pop songs were three to four minutes long).

Besides several doodles in the margins and on the bottom that appear to be of a deer, a hat and a chicken, on page one, there are a number of semi-legible changes in the lyrics that caught our eye:

– Under “Threw the bums a dime in your prime,” Dylan has scratched out: “At scene of the crime.”

– 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.”

– He may also have been trying out alternative rhymes for “scrounging your next meal” — “make it real” and “your last meal” (both scratched out) and something entirely different: “like the children who play in the heat of the day.”

– After the plaintive and cynical refrain “How does it feel?” Dylan has written in mixed caps: “IS IT AINT Quite ReaL.”

– And “No direction home” looked tentatively to be “road back home,” but in the margins with an arrow pointing to it is another, stranger, alternative: “False Knight / Night on the road. AL CAPONE.”

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

Massive Volcanic Eruption Is Making Iceland Grow

The eruption has been going for weeks. So far it hasn’t been catastrophic, but it has been creating new ground.


3 Afghan Army Officers Disappear While Training In U.S.

The men are described as senior Afghan army officers who were vetted before being allowed to participate in the exercise. They are not considered a threat, officials say.


Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service clean up hot spots of the King fire in the El Dorado National Forest near Georgetown, Calif., late last week.

Largest Of Calif. Wildfires Destroys 10 Homes, Other Structures

More than 5,500 firefighters are battling the so-called King Fire in the Sierra Nevada forest area. Some 2,800 people have been evacuated.


Students and teachers attend a rally during the class boycott at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Monday. Thousands of students have braved sweltering heat to demand greater democracy for the territory.

Hong Kong Students Begin Boycott To Call For Democracy

The activists plan to stay out of university classrooms this week to protest Beijing’s plan to screen candidates for the territory’s next chief executive.


Artist concept of MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars.

NASA: MAVEN Spacecraft Safely Circling Mars

The orbital probe will study how the solar wind interacts with the red planet’s thin atmosphere.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments