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From Presley to Punk: Sotheby's Rock & Roll Auction to take place on 24 June in New York
Kurt Cobain, Guitar Used and Smashed in Concert, 1989. Est. $30/40,000. Photo: Sotheby's.

NEW YORK, NY.- On 24 June 2014 Sotheby’s New York will present A Rock & Roll History: Presley to Punk, the first dedicated music history sale at Sotheby’s for over a decade. The auction will be led by important manuscripts that illuminate the golden years of rock music history including original Bob Dylan lyrics and Jimi Hendrix’s infamous first contract. In addition there are vintage promotional materials, unseen photographs, instruments, and ephemera relating to Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Bruce Springsteen.

Richard Austin, Head of the Presley to Punk sale said: “Rock music is the dominant cultural medium of the mid and late 20th century. With lyrics, contracts, instruments and other material from some of the most influential musicians of this transformative time, this sale celebrates the performers that have gripped the world for the past sixty years.”

Song Lyrics
The sale is led by led by the most significant popular music manuscript ever to appear at auction. Bob Dylan’s original hand-written lyrics for the 1965 epic Like A Rolling Stone transformed Dylan from a singer-songwriter to a rock icon (est. $1/2 million). Described as ‘the Holy Grail of rock lyrics’ Like A Rolling Stone ushered in a new musical era in the 1960s, and has proven to be overwhelmingly popular, topping Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Further Dylan lyrics to be offered include the original working manuscript comprising the final lyrics for the protest anthem A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (est. $400/600,000).

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer which appeared as the first track on The Beatles’ Abbey Road album was written by Paul McCartney in late 1968 or early 1969 and uses eccentric lyrics to tell the story of Maxwell Edison (est. $250/350,000). The whimsical musical score is off-set by the sinister lyrics that were partially influenced by the surrealist writings of Alfred Jarry.

In the summer of 1969 Joni Mitchell had been booked to perform at the Woodstock festival and had even flown from Chicago to New York to do so, however amid reports of crowds blocking the highway, her management persuaded to skip the event in order to ensure she would be available to appear on The Dick Cavett Show. Her anthem Woodstock, the lyrics of which appear as recorded in the sale, were inspired by second-hand reports from those that had attended, particularly Crosby, Stills, and Nash (est. $30/50,000). In addition the sale features a single sheet of paper with the Mitchell lyric ‘They paved paradise and they put in a parking lot’ which marks the genesis of her ecological song Big Yellow Taxi (est. $6/8,000).

Other highlights in this section of the sale include Jerry Garcia’s autograph lyrics for US Blues includes an unrecorded stanza (est. $20/30,000); Don Henley’s working manuscript for The Eagles hit Life In The Fast Lane, the third single from the Hotel California album; A Room Full Of Mirrors by Jimi Hendrix (est. $20/30,000); and the manuscript for the Doors Love Her Madly (est. $40/50,000).

The Business of Rock & Roll
The auction will also include a range of important documents charting the often difficult interactions between musicians and record labels. The most significant of these is the infamous Jimi Hendrix Contract that the young musician signed in 1965 agreeing to play exclusively for PPX for just $1 (est. $100/200,000). The singer was living in a cheap Times Square hotel without even his own guitar having gained a reputation for unreliability during a series of backing gigs. When he was introduced to manager Ed Chalpin “Jimmy” soon signed to an exclusive three year deal with his company PPX, for the advance of a single dollar. Through his later record label Warner Bros., Hendrix was eventually able to break free from the contract they agreed to pay Chalpin a settlement of $1 million, all of which Hendrix would have to find from future royalties. This led to a relentless tour schedule and also the Band of Gypsys album, his final album, produced as part of the settlement for Chalpin and PPX. The Settlement Agreement, Signed By Hendrix, Curtis Knight, Ppx & Warner Brothers is also included in the sale (est. $40/60,000).

In early 1964 in the midst of Beatlemania The Beach Boys were under pressure from their overbearing manager, father and uncle, Murry Wilson. On April 2, 1964 the Beach Boys fired Wilson and the following day incorporated Beach Boys Entertainment Enterprises, Inc. at the Office of the Secretary of the State of California. The sale includes these Beach Boys Articles of Incorporation in which the four original members are named as Directors in the new, more democratic version of the Beach Boys: Brian Wilson as President, Carl Wilson as Vice President, Mike Love as Secretary, and Dennis Wilson as Treasurer (est. $20/30,000). In June of that year the first single off the All Summer Long album, I Get Around, became the group's first number one hit.

Also featured is an authorized copy of The Purchase Loan Agreement For The Beatles Catalogue By Michael Jackson, which runs to 1,000 pages and sets out the terms of the loan he took out with Chemical Bank to purchase the publication rights to the majority of songs written by Lennon & McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr (est. $10/20,000).

The Doors Original Management Contract, addressed to “Messrs. Salvator Bonafede and Asher Dann, a partnership” and dated March 1, 1967, was signed by both Bonafede and Dann, as well as all four band members, Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robert Krieger following the initial success of the bands eponymous debut album in January of 1967. It would become the first - albeit ill-fated - attempt to manage The Doors generally, and Jim Morrison's wild antics specifically (est. $7/9,000).

The sale will also feature a number of original prints of iconic rock images including number taken by Bob Gruen including John Lennon – NYC (est. $4/6,000) and Bob Dylan Newport (est. $1/2,000). Other famous images include two works by Gered Mankowitz: Jimi Hendrix (est. $8/12,000) and The Rolling Stones (Between The Buttons Session) (est. $6/9,000), as well as and Joel Brodsky’s Jim Morrison (est. $6/9,000).

In July 1967 The Jimi Hendrix Experience was opening for The Monkees, he was not well received by their largely teenage fan base and left the tour early. However, before his early departure Hendrix was captured by his friend photographer Jerry Schatzberg in Mirror Image - Jimi Hendrix Experience (Forest Hills Stadium) (est. $8/12,000) and Selected Images of Jimi Hendrix, Forest Hills Stadium (est. $7/10,000).

Among the unpublished images are a number taken by record company executive Allan Steckler including Six Candid Photograhs of George Harrison, John Lennon, and Yoko Ono taken circa 1971 (est. $2/3,000) and Candid Sudio Photographs Of The Rolling Stones from the Sympathy for the Devil recording sessions in 1968 (est. $500/700).

The John Lennon Piano From The New York Record Plant Recording Studio was first played by Lennon when he was recording the Imagine album and he later had it moved around the different studios he worked in at the complex (est. $100/200,000). Manufactured by the New England Piano Company, it was also played by Don McLean during the sessions for American Pie as well as by artists including - Bob Dylan, Pete Townshend, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, Patti Smith, Rick Derringer, Judy Collins, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper.

Other instruments in the sale include The Vox Guitar Organ, a hybrid instrument that incorporated the standard five-sided Phantom body shape with part of a Vox Continental organ built into the body which was given by the inventor to the Beatles in 1964 (est. $250/350,000) and The Wooden Body Of An Univox Electric Guitar which was played by Kurt Cobain at Maxwell’s in Hoboken NJ in 1989 and broken on stage (est. $30/40,000).

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