Recently discovered rare and unknown handwritten lyrics penned by Bob Dylan to hit the auction block

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Recently discovered rare and unknown handwritten lyrics penned by Bob Dylan to hit the auction block
Among the sale’s highlights are two unknown pages of unpublished lyrics written by Dylan in New York in the early1980s.

NEW YORK, NY.- Lion Heart Autographs, one of the world’s most recognized and respected auction houses and a dealer specializing in manuscripts and rare documents has announced its next auction taking place on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.

Among the sale’s highlights are two unknown pages of unpublished lyrics written by Dylan in New York in the early1980s. Considered one of the 20th Century’s most influential artists, Bob Dylan reshaped popular music to become the voice of his generation. His poetic lyricism has been appreciated by millions worldwide and acknowledged at the highest level when he was awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature. This remarkable set of lyrics, which contain numerous references to the Biblewas written in ballpoint pen on two sheets from a New York City Ritz Carlton Hotel telephone message pad.

For the first time, Dylan’s rare, unpublished, and unknown lyrics will be offered for sale when they go under the hammer during Lion Heart Autographs’ online auction. Nothing like these fascinating cultural artifacts by Bob Dylan have ever been offered for sale. The first page of lyrics reads:

“I’ve seen more than I wanted to see

You are not so real to be iron and steel – You’re the raw deal –

You are anxious glad [?] to classify me

And entangle me, the year to identify me easily

slap onto me a cause which you can identify –

to get me under category and thumb but

but it can’t be done – I belong to A

New Age – not having to we who seek the

truth but been born knowing it – It is

mine an inheritance – You are eager quick to ------

slide me into the religion of metaphores [sic.] – but

from a previous time –

You are quick to let me know that

chicken stealing hawk shot by a farmers rifle

like a silly dove without a heart

Those who deal treacherously with the Lord beget strange children

You teach us lies and give us the rusty punk bread –

of rotteness [sic.], You give us drugs-

but our religion is of the heart, our”

Dylan references the Old Testament Book of Hosea 7:11, “Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria” and Hosea 5:7 which refers to strange children: “They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.” Dylan frequently draws extensively on Biblical themes and religious imagery as in his songs “God Knows,” “Nettie Moore” and “Things Have Changed.”

According to New School University professor Anne Margaret Daniel, who has written extensively about Dylan and researched his archives at the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, these rare manuscript pages likely date to the early 1980s when he was working on his album Infidels. Released in October 1983, Infidels draws inspiration from the Bible and includes the song “Neighborhood Bully,” about Israel’s right to exist. Current events in Israel and Gaza make Dylan’s angry lyrics offered here, especially timely.

Both documents are in excellent condition and are accompanied by PSA/DNA letters of authenticity along with Lion Heart Autographs’ own certificates of authenticity.

Notably, unlike recent sales of Dylan autographs, these are not copies of songs written out by Dylan as favors, but unpublished manuscripts that offer fascinating insights into his creative process. The lot described above is accompanied by a Hohner Special 20 E flat Marine Band harmonica in its original case, purportedly given by Dylan with the manuscript to the previous owner.

Dylan’s second sheet of unpublished lyrics reads:

“I was hoping you’d say that

You don’t disappoint me


to the Jews, I sang ‘you do good deeds to hasten

the coming of the messiah but the song Messiah

comes when the earth is flooded, flooded with atheists –

I see two bush [drawing] growing side by side have

Two bushes entangled with each other become

One bush yielding gorgeous beautiful plant

The other poison fruit...

Soon one [?] Water them both and one will And the good one surely be strangled

Don’t water them and


A murderer saw a (judge)

Killed him in the street put on his robes”

Born Robert Zimmerman, the son of Jewish immigrants who fled the Russian pogroms and settled in Minnesota, Dylan’s interest in music began in high school. After becoming involved in the Minneapolis folk music scene, Dylan traveled to New York City to meet his hero, folk singer Woody Guthrie. Beginning in February 1961, after adopting the name Bob Dylan (an homage to poet Dylan Thomas), Dylan performed with an acoustic guitar and harmonica in New York’s Greenwich Village. He landed a record deal with Columbia Records and in March 1962 he released his debut album of folk and gospel standards as well as two original compositions. It was the auspicious start of a prolific recording career that included his anti-establishment anthems “Blowin’ in the Wind,” and “The Times They Are a-Changin.” Subsequent albums included the songs “A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and “All Along the Watchtower.”

In 1978, Dylan converted to Evangelical Christianity, released three gospel albums, and refused to perform his earlier, secular works. The albums and the proselytizing were poorly received by both fans and the media. Interestingly, Dylan continued to participate in Jewish religious life. On the apparent contradiction, Dylan stated, “Here’s the thing with me and the religious thing. This is the flat-out truth: I find the religiosity and philosophy in the music. I don’t find it anywhere else. Songs like ‘Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain’ or ‘I Saw the Light’ – that’s my religion. I don’t adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that. I’ve learned more from the songs than I’ve learned from any of this kind of entity,” (“Dylan Revisited,” Newsweek).

These two historical artifacts, recently discovered and now up for auction, represent a unique opportunity to acquire original lyrics written by the Nobel Prize winning, American icon, Bob Dylan. Other musical auction highlights include a very rare handwritten letter signed by legendary blues singer Huddie Ledbetter; a large, signed photograph of Johannes Brahms; a unique signed portrait etching of Paganini, the world’s greatest violinist, plus several bars of music in his hand; two albums recorded by legendary pianist Glenn Gould and inscribed by him; two signed caricatures by the world’s greatest tenor Enrico Caruso, and much more.

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