"Once upon a time you dressed so fine, you threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?"
They are among the most famous words in music history. And now Bob Dylan's original handwritten lyrics to "Like a Rolling Stone"—scrawled on hotel stationary and filled with revisions and artistic doodles—are coming up for auction.
Sotheby's is selling the lyrics as part of its sale Tuesday, titled "A Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk." The lyrics from the 1965 song, which the auction house's Richard Austin said influenced everyone from The Beatles to Bono, are the top lot and could fetch between $1 million and $2 million.
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"They are the holy grail of lyrics," Austin said. They also offer a window into Dylan's painstaking song-writing process. Starting at 20 pages, he whittled the words down over time to four pages—which themselves are filled with alternate rhymes and lyrics.