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

Macy’s To Pay $650,000 In Settlement Over Alleged Racial Profiling

The agreement follows a similar deal earlier this month with Barneys. Customers of both department stores said they had been targeted as suspects of theft because of their race.


President Obama leaves after making a statement Wednesday about the killing of journalist James Foley in Syria. The president said the U.S. would continue to confront Islamic State extremists despite the brutal murder.

U.S. Forces Tried To Rescue Foley, Other Hostages In Syria

The mission earlier this summer, based on intelligence from released hostages, “was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location,” the Pentagon reported.


A memorial of items sit in the middle of the road at the site where Michael Brown was killed in Ferguson, Mo. Any investigation into Brown's fatal shooting by a police officer is likely to take months.

Many Seek Justice In Ferguson, Mo., But Will Have To Wait Awhile

Demonstrators want an indictment of the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown earlier this month. But investigations — one of them a federal civil rights case — can take weeks, if not months.


Killer whales perform in Shamu Stadium at the SeaWorld Orlando theme park in Florida. SeaWorld says it will not appeal a citation that prohibits trainers from performing with the whales.

SeaWorld Won’t Appeal Ban On Trainers Performing With Orcas

The theme-park company received a citation in 2010 after a whale named Tilikum killed a trainer. Since then, SeaWorld has planned upgrades to its facilities and training. But it still faces criticism.


Supporters and opponents of gay marriage demonstrate outside the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., in May.

Same-Sex Marriages On Hold In Virginia After Supreme Court Weighs In

The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked an appeals court ruling that would have allowed gay marriages to begin in Virginia tomorrow.


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