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Not a Complete Unknown: Dylan's 'Like a Rolling Stone,''Hard Rain' Manuscripts Fetch $2 Million at Sotheby's June Auction in New York?

By Ian Holubiak i.holubiak@classicalite.com on May 03, 2014 02:51 PM EDT

Bob Dylan's handwritten, final manuscript on his stage-turning "Like a Rolling Stone" may fetch more money than any other piece of rock memorabilia, expecting to yield some $2 million at a Sotheby's auction.

And the story seems like a real Dylan tale. As the Tambourine Man is sneeringly unsentimental about his past productions, the leaflets of hotel-stamped copy may have escaped his possession willingly and for no monetary value.

The manuscripts were acquired, also, by an avid fan in a very non-musical context, meaning he probably asked and was given, that simple as Dylan has worked in more mysterious ways before.

Another manuscript, containing measures from his also monumental "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" will also be sold as part of Sotheby's "History of Rock and Roll from Presley to Punk" auction on June 24 in New York.

But the real appeal here is the small window of insight into the master's writing process, which displays several lines that didn't make the cut in "Like a Rolling Stone."

"If you look at these four pages," says Richard Austin, Sotheby's manuscript expert, "you can see that at this stage there are rhyme schemes that he didn't pursue, and I suppose the chorus is the biggest surprise."

"Here you have a chorus that is such an iconic piece of history, but it clearly didn't arrive fully formed. And you wonder, if he chose another rhyme, would it have had the same impact?" he continues.

Other items in the auction will be Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi" manuscript, a Vox guitar owned by John Lennon and a Martin acoustic used by Eric Clapton at a Hurricane Katrina benefit.

To say, this may be one for the--well--books.

One of my favorite live videos, the other, another version of "Rolling Stone" in which Dylan exclaims "Play it f---king loud!" before the iconic drum opener. Here is Dylan at Royal Albert Hall performing his most acclaimed track.


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TagsBob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone, Sotheby's, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall