Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Bob Dylan handwritten lyrics for "I Want You" from his "Blonde on Blonde" album. Bob Dylan handwritten lyrics for "I Want You" from his "Blonde on Blonde" album. 1-page 8.5 x 11 in. paper leaf. "I Want You" was written in 1966 and appears on the legendary "Blonde on Blonde" album released that same year. This was the actual lyrical map used in the recording of the song with notated instructions meant to inform the artist where the bridge was to occur in performance. Offbeat characters conspiring to prevent the narrator from falling in love populate the nearly surrealistic and witty love song lyric. Dylan historian Andy Gill suggests that, "the dancing child" character in the lyric, for which "time was on his side" is a reference to Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. Dylan's ultimate lyric resulted in a fairly up-tempo Rock & Roll hit (peaking on Billboard's Top 100 charts at #20) and was subsequently covered by other artists, most notably, Bruce Springsteen in live performance (c. 1970s). In an interview at the time of its release, Dylan is quoted as saying of this song: "It's not just pretty words to a tune or putting tunes to words... [It's] the words and the music [together]-I can hear the sound of what I want to say". Here Bob Dylan has handwritten in blue pen, in full: "1. The lonesome undertaker sighs / the ------ organ grinder cries / the silver saxophones say I should refuse you / the cracked bell & crystal horn / that blow into my face with scorn / Tell me that I wasn't born to lose you / 2. The drunken politician leaps / Upon the street where mothers weep / with saviors walking in their sleep who wait for you / And with my broken heart /drinking from my broken cup / they tell me when to open up the gate for you / 3-4. Your dancing child in his Chinese suit / He spoke to me / I took his flute / I wasn't very cute to him - was I? / But I did it because he lied & because he took you for a ride / & because time was on his side / & because I (bridge) Now all my fathers they gone down / True love - been without it / sons and daughters put me down / cause I don't think about it." Dylan has circled rhyming words in each verse or stanza: 1. "refuse you" and "lose you" 2. "for you" and "for you" 3-4. "was I" and "because I", and has drawn a line from the passage marked "bridge" at the bottom of the page to the desired place of insertion between verse "2" and verse "3-4". Dylan has written, "in the lobby at 2: pm" on the verso. Retaining original folds. Minor paper loss on center right edge (.75 x .05 in.) and top center (.08 in.) not affecting content. Slight toning to bottom edge. A working draft of a poem ("Go Away Bomb") sold for over $15,000 at a recent Christie's auction. Overall, in very good, vintage condition. Provenance: Sotheby's, New York, June 18, 1988, Lot 653.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2013
    18th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 12
    Sold on Dec 18, 2013 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 November 7 Guitars and Musical Instruments Signature Auction.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I think Heritage deserves a lot of credit for covering all technical bases without a hitch.
    Roy M.,
    New York, NY
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search