Bob Dylan's 'Hard Rain' lyrics to be auctioned in London

The young Bob Dylan pictured in the early 1960s around the time he wrote A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall.
The young Bob Dylan pictured in the early 1960s around the time he wrote A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall.PHOTO: SONYBMG

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - A draft of the lyrics for Bob Dylan's protest song A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall is going up for auction in London next month and is expected to fetch up to 200,000 pounds (S$440,000), Sotheby's auction house said on Tuesday.

The typewritten manuscript, with the date 1962, contains many scribbled revisions and scratchings-out to the song that Dylan recorded in December 1962 and released on the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan the following year.

A 2014 auction of Dylan's 1965 original handwritten lyrics for Like a Rolling Stone fetched just over US$2 million (S$2.8 million) at Sotheby's in New York, setting a record for a rock music manuscript.

But the Hard Rain lyrics, described as a draft, are a mixture of type and handwriting, accounting for the lower auction estimate, Sotheby's said. A different Dylan manuscript of the same song fetched US$485,000 at the 2014 New York auction.

Among the most notable changes in the lyrics to be auctioned in September is the final chorus, where the draft version has the line "It's a hard rain must fall." When the song was recorded, it was changed to "It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall" to conform with the preceding choruses.

The song, like many of those recorded by Dylan in the 1960s, has been much discussed as to its inspiration. Dylan has both suggested and denied that it was written in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis, although he performed the song at Carnegie Hall in New York City in September 1962, a few weeks before the crisis erupted.

Sotheby's said the manuscript is being sold by the family of Elizabeth D'Jazian, ex-wife of American entertainer and peace activist Hugh "Wavy Gravy" Romney. It was in Wavy Gravy's room above the Gaslight Folk Club in New York's Greenwich Village that the 21-year-old Dylan typed the lyrics.

The manuscript will be auctioned in London on Sept. 29 along with Bruce Springsteen memorabilia from the making of his iconic 1975 album Born to Run. They include the signed, handwritten lyrics of the track"Jungleland," estimated to fetch 20,000-30,000 pounds, and black and white photos of Springsteen and the E Street Band in the recording studio while working on the album.