How does it Feel?: Rolling Stone gathers the green

Arguably Bob Dylan’s most famous song, the iconic Like a Rolling Stone (1965), released when the artist was 24 on the album Highway 61 Revisited, has set a new Sotheby’s record. So how does it feel? Well, to Dylan it feels about $US2.045 million, the price that an original draft of the song’s lyrics went for at the Sotheby’s auction on the 24th of June, 2014, just one year out from the song’s 50th anniversary. This beats the previous record, which was for John Lennon’s handwritten lyrics for A Day in the Life which sold for $US1.2 million in 2010. The song has remained a Dylan favourite, his most popular, with iconic and elusive lyrics, rumoured to be inspired by Dylan’s one-time doomed lover and Andy Warhol muse Edie Sedgwick, and the pop artist’s treatment of Sedgwick. Dylan, critical of Sedgwick’s relationship with Warhol, makes thinly-veiled references to a “Miss Lonely” who never compromises with a ‘mystery tramp’ (supposedly Warhol). Regardless of whether or not this torrid relationship is the origin of such masterful lyrics, the song is ripe with resentment and dark reflection. It is indeed tempting to speculate that Dylan is referring to the troublesome pair, with lyrics such as: ‘Ain’t it hard when you discovered that, he really wasn’t where it’s at, after he took from you everything, he could steal?’ The relationship is the central focus of the unfulfilled film Factory Girl (2006), whose character Bobby Flynn is clearly based on Dylan, who criticises Warhol’s factory group. The songs Just Like a Woman and Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat are also said to be inspired by Sedgwick, who, according to the former, ‘breaks just like a little girl.’

Bob Dylan's original drafts for 'Like a Rolling Stone'

Bob Dylan’s original drafts for ‘Like a Rolling Stone’

The original lyrics of Like a Rolling Stone were written on four sheets of hotel stationery from the The Roger Smith Hotel in Washington DC, and are said to be the only surviving drafts of the song, which features unused references to Al Capone as well as rhyming words for ‘feel’, including ‘kneel’, ‘deal’ and ‘real’. The drafts have been sold to an unnamed “longtime fan from California.” The first official interactive video clip for the song was launched in 2013, featuring deadpan historians, news anchors and cartoons lip synching the lyrics. Changing the channel enables you to see the famous song performed through the mouths of different people depending on what channel you are on, showing the widespread influence of such music. See it below:


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One response to “How does it Feel?: Rolling Stone gathers the green

  1. Thanks. The song survives all analyses as a twentieth century artistic peak. Regards from Thom at the immortal jukebox (drop a nickel!)

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