Bob Dylan lyrics, letters sell for nearly half a million dollars

Nov 22, 2020, 9:37 PM
Sept. 29, 1978 file photo, Bob Dylan performs at New York's Madison Square Garden in New York. (AP)

(CNN) — A collection of Bob Dylan memorabilia including letters, unpublished lyrics and handwritten lyrics to “Blowin’ in the wind” have sold for nearly half a million dollars, auctioneers say.

The items belonged to the estate of Dylan’s friend and fellow musician Tony Glover, who died last year. They were put up for sale in a week-long auction run by RR Auction Company.

Glover’s collection of Dylan memorabilia included personal letters and the transcripts from an interview carried out by Glover and hand-annotated by Dylan.

RR Auction said Friday that the collection sold for a total of $495,000.

In one typed and signed letter — sent from the Bearsville, New York, country retreat of his manager Albert Grossman — Dylan refers to Beatles John Lennon and Ringo Starr as “groovy” after meeting them for the first time in 1964.

“… am writing green songs an tieing play words togeter…i am outside an somewhat free / long for nothing. john lennon groovy also ringo. holy household here something out of ficticious gandi novel,” Dylan writes. “i write by candlelight. hardly never during day / bob dylan he plays makes bread facing kind fond people menace in their bathtubs / they call him names an pay outrageously just t see what he looks like…bob dylan he laughs / it is all a joke see me in the sky. the sky is on fire…”

“The letter’s dogged pace and free-flowing lyrical style seem to mirror the very manner in which he was aggressively approaching the song-writing process, with the mashing of typewriter keys all but audible as one reads the page, sold for $36,187,” RR Auction Company said in a release.

The “Blowin’ in the wind” lyrics, dated 2011 and signed by Dylan, fetched the highest price, $108,253.75, RR Auction Company said.

Meanwhile, unpublished lyrics penned during a 1962 road trip with Glover and musician John Hammond Jr. — to see Woody Guthrie at the Brooklyn State Hospital — sold for $38,781.

“My eyes are cracked I think I been framed / I can’t seem to remember the sound of my name / What did he teach you I heard someone shout / Did he teach you to wheel & wind yourself out / Did he teach you to reveal, respect, and repent the blues / No Jack he taught me how to sleep in my shoes,” Dylan wrote.

RR Auction Company said the lyrics were about Dylan’s experiences with blues legend Big Joe Williams. It quoted Glover recalling the trip and Dylan’s writing in “No Direction Home” — a 2005 documentary:

“[Hammond] was driving, I was in the front seat, and Bob was in the back. And at some point he started scribbling out something on a piece of paper… It was like a little poem thing. We were talking about Big Joe Williams. Cause he’d met Big Joe in Chicago, and I played with Big Joe Williams [too]…And I thought [the lyrics] really summed up Big Joe Williams, you know, and Bob’s attitude towards it too.”

The transcript from the 1971 interview between Dylan and Glover also revealed that Dylan had written “Lay Lady Lay” for Barbra Streisand.

For decades, the song was thought to have been written for the 1969 film, “Midnight Cowboy.”

The transcripts were reportedly for an Esquire article that Glover had been writing, though the story was never published. In the conversation that took place on March 24, it’s clear that Dylan wrote the song for Streisand, but it was not necessarily about her.

“You said Father of Night was written for a play, and Lay Lady Lay was done for Midnight Cowboy,” Glover said.

“Actually it was written for Barbra Streisand,” Dylan replied.

After the transcript came to light, Streisand told NBC she had no knowledge that the song was written with her in mind.

RR Auction said Glover befriended Dylan in the Minneapolis coffee house scene. “He was one of the few hometown friends that Dylan stayed in touch with after going to NYC. Dylan dedicated his prose-poem contribution to the 1963 Newport Folk Festival program to Glover, calling him a ‘best friend in the highest form,'” RR Auction said in the release.

The auction house said its client was “thrilled” with the prices fetched.

“The more satisfying result is the tribute to Tony Glover and how the public realized his importance to the history of Rock and Roll,” Bobby Livingston, an executive with RR Auction Company, said in a statement.

™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories


NBA Ice Buckets...
Devin Oldroyd

NBA fans invited to show “ice in their veins” at NBA Ice Buckets challenge

The NBA and Utah Jazz invite you to play NBA Ice Buckets, a free-to-play indoor basketball shooting challenge at Trolley Square.
23 hours ago
Ballet West "Nutcracker" battle scene....
Waverly Golden

Ballet West continues longstanding tradition, The Nutcracker

Until Dec. 24, Ballet West will be showing performances of The Nutcracker at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City.
23 hours ago
video game...
Elizabeth Weiler

BYU students win international award for video game

SALT LAKE CITY — Students apart of the animation program at BYU received international recognition from the Rookie Awards for developing and producing a video game. Additionally, the “Highly Commended” also helped BYU earn the global ranking of fifth top video game design school.  The interactive computer game in question is titled Liminus: The Silent Guard, it […]
23 hours ago
The Pantone Color Institute has named Viva Magenta as its color of the year for 2023, saying it is ...
Faith Karimi, CNN

Pantone reveals 2023 Color of the Year and new exhibit

The Pantone Color Institute's choice for 2023, Viva Magenta, is described as an unconventional color for an unconventional time.
23 hours ago
The inventor of the Rubik's Cube offers advice for solving it, and says 'don't fear the complexity...
MARK KENNEDY AP Entertainment Writer

The mind behind the Rubik’s Cube celebrates a lasting puzzle

Ernő Rubik invented the cube in 1974. Since then, the puzzle has become a worldwide phenomenon with over 450 million cubes sold.
2 days ago
Christine McVie, one of the members of Fleetwood Mac, has died at the age of 79....
Lisa Respers France

Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac dead at 79

A statement from McVie's family said she'd been hospitalized with a short illness, and that her family was with her when she died.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Bob Dylan lyrics, letters sell for nearly half a million dollars