Bob Dylan in April 1965 during the time when he wrote Like a Rolling Stone
New York, June 24 (Reuters): Bob Dylan’s handwritten manuscript for Like a Rolling Stone sold for just over $2 million today at Sotheby’s rock and roll auction, which also included memorabilia from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley.
The price for the annotated lyrics for Like a Rolling Stone, considered one of the most influential songs in post-war music, makes it the most expensive rock music manuscript sold at auction.
It shattered the previous record set in 2010 when John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics for A Day in the Life, the final track from the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band sold for $1.2 million, according to Sotheby’s.
“It is always pleasing to set the world record. It carried a strong estimate (up to $2 million) as well, and we felt the estimate was justified given the importance of the work,” said Richard Austin, Sotheby’s head of books and manuscripts.
“I’m a Dylan fan myself,” he added, “and I thought it was one of the coolest things that I have ever handled.”
The auction house described Like a Rolling Stone as “one of rock’s most rousing classics, its thick, layered sound and innovative organ riff instantly recognisable.”
The manuscript for Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall fetched $485,000.
The sale, called A Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk, was Sotheby’s first dedicated music history auction in more than a decade. The total for all the sold lots was slightly more than $4 million.
“We’re very pleased with the sale overall,” said Austin. “It’s an interesting market and we look forward to seeing where it goes.”
Other items in the auction included Ronnie Wood’s Zemaitis 1977 acoustic guitar that sold for $75,000, Bruce Springsteen’s autographed manuscript lyrics for Thunder Road, which fetched $37,500 and Presley’s flamboyant peacock jumpsuit from his days performing in Las Vegas, which went to the highest bidder for $245,000.
A Grammy Award for Jackson presented to Johnny Cash and June Carter sold for $37,500 and the Vox guitar organ, a hybrid instrument given to the Beatles by the inventor in 1964, brought in $305,000. The 150 lots in the auction, which ranged in price from an estimated $200-$300 up $2 million for the Dylan lyrics, came from collectors and people who worked in the music industry.
Sotheby’s said it decided to hold the sale to test the market and to see what collectors are interested in buying.
Earlier this month, original manuscripts and drawings by former Beatle John Lennon sold for $2.9 million, more than double the estimated price.