Early Bob Dylan 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall' manuscript up for auction



2015-08-25 11:05:44

A previously unseen draft of the classic Bob Dylan song A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall will be sold at Sotheby's next month.

The type-written manuscript, featuring hand-written revisions, offers an insight into Dylan's creative process as he began to shape one of his most important songs. It will be offered as part of the forthcoming Rock and Pop sale in London, with an estimated value of £150,000-£200,000.

Described as “the greatest protest song by the greatest protest songwriter of his time”, Dylan initially conceived the song as a poem when he wrote it in 1962, in a room above the Gaslight Folk Club in Greenwich Village.

Fellow folk singer Tom Paxton recalled Dylan working on the  song: "...there was a hide-out room above The Gaslight where we could hang out. Once Dylan was banging out this long poem on Wavy Gravy's typewriter. He showed me the poem and I asked, 'Is this a song?' He said, 'No, it's a poem.' I said, 'All this work and you're not going to add a melody?"

This previously unseen draft sees Dylan rephrasing some of the song's most famous lines, and includes the more dramatic and assertive "a hard rain must fall" in the final chorus.

Dylan famously premiered the song at Carnegie Hall on September 22, 1962, as part of a show organised by singer Pete Seeger. "I had to announce to all the singers, 'Folks, you're gonna be limited to three songs. No more. Cause we each have ten minutes apiece.'", recalled Seeger. "And Bob raised his hand and said, 'What am I supposed to do? One of my songs is ten minutes long’.”

In June 2014, Sotheby's sold Dylan's original hand-written set of lyrics for the song, featuring the final version as recorded in December 1962. The manuscript realized a price of $485,000, making it one of the world's most valuable pieces of Bob Dylan memorabilia.

The Sotheby's Rock and Pop sale takes place in London on September 29.

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