Bob Dylan’s papers, unpublished lyrics sell for $495K at auction

BOSTON — Like a rolling stone, the bidding for long-lost documents and unpublished lyrics by music icon Bob Dylan gained momentum Friday. When it was over, more than 60 items sold for a total of $495,000.

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The memorabilia of Dylan, 79, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize for literature and is regarded as one of the great songwriters of all time, was sold by Boston-based RR Auction in its Marvels of Modern Music Auction.

The collection was owned by the late Tony Glover, a Minneapolis resident who died in 2019 and a longtime friend and confidante of Dylan. Glover acquired the “impressive variety of ephemera and artifacts” over several decades, the auction house said. Glover’s widow offered the collection to RR Auction following her husband’s death last year.

The items were auctioned as separate lots. The key pieces in the auction were sold to a bidder, whose identity was not revealed.

All prices in the auction included a buyer’s premium.

Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for his protest song, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” topped the individual lots, selling for $108,253.75. Dylan also signed the one-page sheet at the bottom of the page.

Original lyrics of an unpublished Dylan song from May 1962 sold for $38,781.25. Dylan wrote the lines after visiting folk legend Woody Guthrie:

“My eyes are cracked I think I been framed;

“I can’t seem to remember the sound of my name;

“What did he teach you I heard someone shout;

“Did he teach you to wheel & wind yourself out;

“Did he teach you to reveal, respect, and repent the blues;

“No Jack he taught me how to sleep in my shoes.”

Other items that sold included a handwritten, annotated interview transcript Dylan did with Glover in 1971. The interview revealed that Dylan had anti-Semitism on his mind when he changed his name from Robert Zimmerman, according to The Associated Press. The interview also noted that Dylan wrote “Lay Lady Lay,” which reached No. 7 on the Billboard charts in 1969, for Barbra Streisand.

Another auction item was an October 1971 reel-to-reel tape containing a three-track scratch recording for “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Vol. II.”

Dylan had four Top-10 hits on the Billboard charts during his solo career, including a No. 2 song with 1965′s “Like a Rollin’ Stone.” He also hit No. 2 in 1966 with “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” “Positively 4th Street” peaked at No. 7 in 1965.

Many of Dylan’s songs are memorable for their cover versions, including Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower,” The Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” by Guns N’ Roses.


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