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Bob Dylan’s original ‘Desolation Row’ lyrics to sell for £350,000

They are thought to be the only handwritten version of the words to the 1965 song in existence

By Nick Reilly

Bob Dylan pictured wearing a cream hat while performing live in 2017
Bob Dylan pictured in 2017. (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Raph_PH)

Bob Dylan‘s handwritten lyrics to 1965’s ‘Desolation Row’ are set to go under the hammer for $425,000 (£350,000).

The latest Dylan lyrics to go up for auction come after the original manuscripts for songs such as ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’, ‘Lay Lady Lay’ and ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ were purchased by a memorabilia firm in 2020, with the first song believed to have sold for a fee thought to be in the region of $2.2million (£1.8m).

As TMZ reports, the ‘Desolation Row’ lyrics – complete with handwritten edits from the music icon – were acquired by a lifelong friend of Dylan’s who received them decades ago. They are thought to be the only handwritten version of the words to the 1965 song in existence.

A auction listing from Moments In Time reads: “In terms of rarity, unlike ‘Times’, ‘Hard Rain’, ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, where several examples of each exist, there are no other examples of ‘Desolation Row’.

“Dylan’s archives in the Tulsa museum does not include any version of it. In over 50 years no other example of ‘Desolation Row’ has ever been hinted at existing.”

The sale comes after Dylan faced recent controversy for using an autopen machine to fulfil orders of signed copies of his latest book.

He labelled the mistake an “error of judgment” after publishing giant Simon & Schuster conceded that hand-signed copies had been completed with the autopen – which uses a machine to replicate a person’s signature.

Fans who purchased the copies of The Philosophy of Modern Song realised the mistake when they shared photos of their signed books on Dylan forums and realised that each copy sported a virtually identical signature.

“I’ve been made aware that there’s some controversy about signatures on some of my recent artwork prints and on a limited-edition of Philosophy Of Modern Song. I’ve hand-signed each and every art print over the years, and there’s never been a problem,” said Dylan.

“However, in 2019 I had a bad case of vertigo and it continued into the pandemic years. It takes a crew of five working in close quarters with me to help enable these signing sessions, and we could not find a safe and workable way to complete what I needed to do while the virus was raging.”

In other Bob Dylan news, a fan of the singer recently told Rolling Stone UK how he bought tickets for the singer in London – only to realise he was actually off to see upcoming pop star Dylan.

While pop star Dylan is known only by her first name, fans of music icon Bob often refer to him using just his surname – sparking the mistake when fan Andy Day purchased the tickets.

Andy , 54, still went to the show at London’s KOKO earlier this month with his 76-year-old father-in-law Eric and wife. He hailed the hotly-tipped singer, who has supported the likes of Ed Sheeran and Bastille, as a “brilliant performer”.