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Handwritten Manuscript of Bob Dylan Song Sets a New Record at Auction
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Handwritten Manuscript of Bob Dylan Song Sets a New Record at Auction

In May 1965, a folk singer by the name of Bob Dylan wrote a protest song that startled all of his contemporaries. ...

Handwritten Manuscript of Bob Dylan Song Sets a New Record at Auction

In May 1965, a folk singer by the name of Bob Dylan wrote a protest song that startled all of his contemporaries. “Like A Rolling Stone” signalled and catalyzed the tectonic changes that were happening in popular music, society at large, and the life of the musician himself. At the time, Dylan was at the forefront of popular culture and his songs and lyrics propelled him as the new Messiah, inspiring countless artists to start writing their own songs.

 

This song which was named by Rolling Stone magazine as the greatest song of all time, last November, finally got an official video, for the first time since it was released back in 1965.


 

As told by Dylan himself in Martin Scorsese's film No Direction Home, the song is about him. But at 6 minutes and 34 seconds, it also signals where music could and would go – everything from the Beatles to Led Zeppelin, from prog-rock to post rock, while simultaneously departing from outdated songwriting conventions. The song is considered to be the Holy Grail of lyric writing. Dylan’s poetry inspired Greil Marcus, the undisputed doyen of American music criticism, to write an entire book about the song's importance and impact.

 

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Millions of Dylan fans consider the song to be analogous to the Bible in its significance to the worldview of the time, and its influence has not waned. The handwritten manuscript of “Like a Rolling Stone” sold at Sotheby’s auction house in New York for a staggering $2 million earlier this week. The sale set a new record for memorabilia of this kind, topping the price fetched for John Lennon's handwritten lyrics to “A Day in the Life” from Sgt. Pepper.

 

According to Sotheby’s, the manuscript was sold by a fan who purchased it from Dylan himself in a non-rock context. Dylan is well known for his eccentric behaviour. Who knows what circumstances led him to sell this holy manuscript?

 

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