September 2015 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Dylan Lyrics at Auction

249L15414_8FFP8.jpgA typescript of Bob Dylan's lyrics for "It's a Hard Rain's Gonna Fall" will be auctioned at Sotheby's London tomorrow. The heavily revised text, showing more than 110 words in Dylan's handwriting, is, Sotheby's noted, "a highly important early working draft of the song that first revealed Dylan's poetic ambitions as a songwriter." The estimate for these two precious leaves is £150,000-200,000 ($234,000-312,000).

It is widely believed that Dylan typed this document in a "hide-out room" above the Gaslight, a folk music club/cafe in New York City's Greenwich Village. According to folksinger Tom Paxton, Dylan first thought of "Hard Rain" as a poem. The "hide-out room" was likely the office of Hugh Romney, aka Wavy Gravy, who was the club's poetry director at the time. This typescript actually comes to auction from the family of Romney's first wife, Elisabeth (Lily) Djehizian, a waitress at the Gaslight in the early sixties.

According to Sotheby's, "The current typescript is one of three known manuscripts of the poem, the others being an autograph lyric fragment among the Mackenzie-Krown papers now at the Morgan Library, and the final working manuscript (sold Sotheby's, New York, 24 June 2014, lot 141, $400,000)."

Pop music lyrics are increasingly a hot commodity at auction. Dylan's working manuscript of "Like a Rolling Stone," made more than $2 million in 2014, and Don McLean's original working manuscript of "American Pie" achieved $1.2 million earlier this year. Tomorrow's sale also includes manuscript lyrics by Jack Bruce and Bruce Springsteen. 

Image via Sotheby's.