As part of a collection Sotheby’s in New York is dubbing A Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk, the Magna Carta of rock lyrics, Bob Dylan‘s “Like a Rolling Stone,” will be auctioned off in their original handwritten form, scribed on stationary from the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington.
Expected to fetch double of what the previous record pulled in, a cool million for John Lennon‘s “A Day in the Life” in 2010, it is part of a sheaf of papers some purported “non-musical connection” bought off Dylan many moons ago, the seller offering handwritten lyrics for “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” aside it.
We’re split on whether or not there’s irony in the sale of a song so vehemently progressive it could be used as an argument against itself – to feel or not to feel like a rolling stone – and what that means to the sanctity of rock, but the greatest thing about the sale, above all, is the revealing of Dylan’s writing process.
The rhyme scheme, as noted by the New York Times, could have been on “feel,” if Dylan stopped editing, scribbling on these four sheets couplets like “it feels real,” “does it feel real,” “shut up and deal,” “get down and kneel” and “raw deal.” Meanwhile, dude was trying to work Al Capone into a verse.
Which of course, begs the most important question of all here, people – how would it feel, to be on your own, with no direction home, like Al Capone, like a rolling stone?