Bob Dylan’s hand-scrawled lyrics for “Like a Rolling Stone” sold at a Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday for $2 million, breaking the previous record of $1.2 million for John Lennon’s lyrics to The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
The hand-written notes include a near-final draft of the lyrics, a few scattered doodles of animals in the margins, and most evocatively, several rhymes that never made the final cut. “Dry vermouth, you’ll tell the truth,” reads one discarded phrase, and one familiar phrase “like a complete unknown” is connected by a line to the name “Al Capone.”
Dylan wrote the lyrics across four pages of hotel stationary in mid-June, 1965, during a stay at the Hotel Roger Smith Hotel in Washington D.C., according to Sotheby’s. He later recorded the song when he was 24 years old.
The manuscript was sold as part of a dedicated pop music sale at Sotheby’s.