A half million a page. Yes, a draft of Bob Dylan’s lyrics for “Like a Rolling Stone” just sold for $2.045 million at auction yesterday. Sotheby’s called the sale a world record for a popular music manuscript. Written in pencil on four sheets of hotel stationary this is, “the only known surviving draft of the final lyrics for this transformative rock anthem.” The pages do feature lyrics that didn’t make into the final song like, “…dry vermouth/You’ll tell the truth” and an abandoned line about Al Capone. The lyrics also show Dylan’s attempts to get a rhyme of the “How does it feel” line with phrases like, “it feels real,” “does it feel real,” “get down and kneel,” “raw deal” and “shut up and deal.” The draft was written at the Roger Smith Hotel in DC and also has some of Dylan’s doodles on it as well. The seller was not identified but the auction house calls him a “longtime fan from California” who bought the manuscript directly from Dylan. In 2004, “Like a Rolling Stone” was ranked Number One in Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
And coincidentally, the Hotel Dylan just opened in Woodstock, NY (where Bob D has a house and owns his own mountain.) It was bought last year by entrepreneur Paul Covello (for I’m pretty sure, much less than those lyric sheets sold for) and brought into the 21st century with style by Cortney and Bob Novogratz. If your planning on Woodstock weekend getaway, check it out.