Bob Dylan’s Handwritten Draft of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ Sells for $2 Million
An early four-page, handwritten draft of Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ — dating back to the song’s 1965 release — has sold for $2 million to an unidentified bidder during an auction at Sotheby’s.
Described by the auction house as “the only known surviving draft of the final lyrics for this transformative rock anthem,” the draft includes Dylan’s lyrics, ideas and drawings.
We can get some rough insight into the legendary singer-songwriter’s creative process from these four pages of stationery originating from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, D.C. Dylan jotted down some of the lyrics as they are heard in the final cut of the classic song, but there are also instances where the singer crosses out lyrics and considers alternate words along with possible rhymes.
For example, on the first page, he originally wrote, “You used to talk about / Everybody that was down and out,” but “down and out” is crossed out and replaced with “hanging out.”
Interestingly, even Chicago mobster Al Capone’s name appears sideways in the margin as potential material for the song.
Among all the scribbles and scratched-out lyrics and light sketches of animals and hats, the song’s central line appears resolute near the bottom of the page: “Like a rolling stone.”