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'Like a Rolling Stone' draft sold for $2 million

NEW YORK (AP) -- A draft of one of the most popular songs of all time, Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," sold Tuesday for $2 million, which the auction house called a world record for a popular music manuscript.

A working draft of the finished song in Dylan's own hand went to an unidentified bidder at Sotheby's. The selling price, $2.045 million, included a buyer's premium.

The manuscript is "the only known surviving draft of the final lyrics for this transformative rock anthem," Sotheby's said.

The draft is written in pencil on four sheets of hotel letterhead stationery with revisions, additions, notes and doodles: a hat, a bird, an animal with antlers. The stationery comes from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Dylan was 24 when he recorded the song in 1965 about a debutante who becomes a loner when she's cast from upper-class social circles.

"How does it feel To be on your own" it says in his handwriting. "No direction home Like a complete unknown Like a rolling stone."

Scrawls seem to reflect the artist's experimentation with rhymes.

The name "Al Capone" is scrawled in the margin, with a line leading to the lyrics "Like a complete unknown."

Another note says: "...dry vermouth, you'll tell the truth..."

Sotheby's described the seller as a longtime fan from California "who met his hero in a non-rock context and bought directly from Dylan." He was not identified.

The manuscript was offered as part of Sotheby's rock and pop music sale.

In 2010, 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," sold for $1.2 million, the record for such a sale.

Bob Dylan's 'Like A Rolling Stone' Manuscript Could Bring In $2 Million

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William Cohan June 26 2014 at 8:49 AM

At that time in 1965 Dylan was having a temporary romance with Edie Sedgwick, the pretty young girl who had a trust fund and wealthy family; she went broke and started turning tricks for heroin, this song is about her fall from grace.

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2 replies
timber1647 William Cohan June 26 2014 at 10:55 AM

My compliments. Very few know the facts behind what has arguably been defined as the greatest song of the modern rock era.

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chefmachinist William Cohan June 26 2014 at 3:49 PM

do you know who positively 4th st is about?

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1 reply
mcleodntx chefmachinist June 26 2014 at 9:43 PM

Joan Baez ???

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vendelavee June 26 2014 at 8:16 AM

And in a 100 years nobody will care or know about the song and the manuscript won't be worth much.

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4 replies
Steve-a-rino June 26 2014 at 9:08 AM

As usual, the critics are bitter of another's success. I'm sure oujoou's work will sell for much more? Who, you say? EXACTLY!
And to BD's biographer, it's "sheer" not "shear!"

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grant911 June 26 2014 at 4:18 PM

No talent whining little nose picking hit stain annoyance. I'd have paid a nickel for it if I was trapped in outhouse without TP.

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2 replies
bemolee grant911 June 26 2014 at 8:12 PM

lol he is and was a great song writer.... to each their own

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kmurphy1451 grant911 June 27 2014 at 9:09 AM

grant911 - I totally understand why you feel the way you do. You also have NO talent, NO hits, you are also annoying ,use social media to do your whining, and have at least one finger buried in your nose at any given time. So why is it you have only a nickel, no indoor plumbing and forced to use your shirt tail to wipe your butt? Where is the fairness in this world?

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oujoou June 26 2014 at 5:11 AM

2 million dollars for a 'draft' of a crappy song. Hope the buyer is insured for 'buyer's remorse.' :(

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5 replies
Jackie June 26 2014 at 11:53 AM

If that's the case, Bohemian Rhapsody would be priceless.

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LONNIE June 26 2014 at 11:11 AM

1965 was the year my life opened up and the world that had been waiting for me Bob Dylan was my idol and like a rolling stone spoke to everyone,I was lucky enough to see him in concert and just hearing those songs of his make me cry for our lost youth and those exciting days when we could speak out and hopefully change the world.

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1 reply
bemolee LONNIE June 26 2014 at 8:14 PM

those days wer among the best

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bentbouy1 June 26 2014 at 7:32 AM

People can buy what they want but this is insane

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sam1191161 June 26 2014 at 10:08 PM

Wowy.....How does it FEEL?

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MERLIN June 26 2014 at 10:44 AM

rock has turned misic into a noise maker, all of it is not worth 2 dollars let alone 2 mil

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