Described as the greatest rock song ever, Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" captivated a generation and catapulted the folk singer's career into the stratosphere. Now, music buffs have the chance to acquire the song's original, handwritten lyrics at auction. Scrawled on four pages of hotel stationery, the manuscript displays Dylan's creative process in stunning intimacy. Current estimates show that the item could sell for as much as $2 million when it goes to auction in June.
The song that changed music
In 1965, a 24-year-old Dylan was staying in the Roger Smith Hotel in Washington D.C. While he was there, he would begin crafting one of the most influential and popular songs of the century. Up to that point, pop music had been dominated by short and sweet love songs, usually topping out at around three minutes. When Dylan recorded "Like a Rolling Stone," it was more than six minutes of introspective poetry set to music. An instant success, the song changed the way people thought about what pop music could be.
Dylan himself would come to describe the song as the best he had ever written. Before its release, the singer was relatively unknown outside of folk music circles. With "Like a Rolling Stone" he cemented himself as a formidable rock talent. For the effect that the song has had on Dylan's career and the music industry as a whole, it remains one of the most highly revered pieces of American music to ever be produced.
A glimpse inside the artist's mind
The manuscript going to auction is one of the only known remaining drafts of the song. It shows the thought processes of the musician as they were being played out in his mind. The familiar chorus of "how does it feel" is repeated and other possible rhyme schemes are explored. In the margins of the pages are various doodles that Dylan made while searching for the perfect words. The piece is a priceless artifact from the annals of rock 'n' roll history that would make a perfect addition to any book or manuscript collection.
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