Bruce Springsteen’s handwritten draft of his hit song “Born to Run” was bought for $250,000 at Sotheby’s, but the price still may not suffice to be included in the 10 most expensive song manuscripts ever bought.
Midori Tanaka, the auctioneer’s spokesperson, confirmed that the manuscript of the 1975 classic was bought at the Sotheby’s Fine Books & Manuscripts bidding.
The new purchase price, which already incorporates Sotheby’s $50,000 commission, was logged in the middle of the expected range. It also exceeded the previous price of $197,000 in 2013 by slightly more than a quarter. Following this transaction, the piece landed at the exhibit of the Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Duke benefactor Floyd Bradley was the seller of the “Born to Run” manuscript. However, the identity of the most recent buyer was not revealed.
The song is included in Springsteen’s album of the same name. To recall from his interview with The Rolling Stone, the singer, 25 years old then, described the said album as a crucial point that determined the turn of his life.
“We were considered not a success at that particular moment, and so ‘Born to Run’ was pretty critical — we were hoping to get some attention and make a dent,” Springsteen was quoted.
He emphasized that the team behind the song went through excruciating pains and excessively long hours to produce it to what it is today.
“Part of what made the record good is that we went to extremes to structure it and compose it and play it in this very detailed and drive-yourself-crazy fashion…” he said.
“ …It was indestructible, and that came from an enormous amount of time that we put in, an unhealthy amount of obsessive-compulsiveness. So part of it was, I was afraid of releasing the record and just saying, ‘Well, this is who I am,’ for all the obvious reasons that people are afraid of exposure and putting themselves out there: This is who I am, this is everything I know, this is my best, this is the best I can do right now.”
With respect to other song lyrics auctioned worldwide, the “Born to Run” manuscript’s price, however, may not make it to the five highest-priced handwritten song lyrics ever auctioned off.
The record breaker for this list is Bob Dylan’s 1965 “Like a Rolling Stone,” which was sold for $2 million at Sotheby’s in 2014. This was followed by The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love” at $1.25 million in 2005. The song, written by John Lennon, was composed for the first live international television show “Our World.”
On third place is Don McLean’s “American Pie” at $1.205 million in 2015. The manuscript spanned 16 pages with explanatory notes and erasures. Ranking fourth is The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” at $1.202 million in 2010. The song was the finale to “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and it was also hailed by the Rolling Stone Magazine as the greatest Beatles song ever.
Rounding the top five is the Plastic Ono Band’s “Give Peace a Chance” at £421,250 or $833,653 in 2008. Yoko Ono and Lennon collaborated on the song’s writing and recording process while they were at Montreal, Canada in 1969 for their honeymoon.
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