Bob Dylan's Handwritten 'The Times They Are-a Changin” Lyrics Headed to Auction

A handwritten lyric manuscript of Bob Dylan’s 1964 protest classic “The Times They Are a-Changin’” is headed to the auction block. The asking price is $2.2 million, which would be a record high for song lyrics. The previous record was reached in 2014 when the lyrics for Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” were auctioned for $2 million.

The lyrics are written on a single sheet of lined paper in Dylan’s handwriting and reveal numerous discarded lyric fragments and intriguing notes like “Carter Family Tune,” “42nd Street Photo Booth,” “Peter-Banjo” and “Tommy Blake Sweetie Pie,” a reference to a 1958 tune by a somewhat obscure rockabilly singer signed to Sun Records.

An entire versed is crossed out on the right side of the sheet that includes the lines, “Come all magicians of illusion and deceit/With 100 16 weights tied to your feet/Get up, get up stand on your feet.”

The manuscript is owned by an anonymous private collector but was originally owned by Dylan’s manager Jeff Rosen. It is being sold via Moments in Time in Los Angeles. They are also offering the lyrics for “Subterranean Homesick Blues” for $1.2 million and “Lady Lady Lay” for $650,000.

“They are not quite as important, as iconic,” Moments in Time owner Gary Zimet told Reuters. “‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ is certainly a major, major song but not in the same league as ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’.”

Dylan was supposed to spend the entire month of April touring Japan, but the coronavirus forced the cancellation of the tour. He is supposed to kick off an extensive summer tour in Bend, Oregon, on June 4th, but it seems extremely likely those dates will have to be postponed. If he’s unable to perform anywhere this year, it will be his first extended break from the road since the start of the Never Ending Tour in 1988.

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