Unknown Bob Dylan Lyric Offered For Sale

Discarded handwritten lyrics for 'NYC Blues' from 1961 up for auction

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The handwritten lyrics of an unknown Bob Dylan song have come to light and are being offered at auction.

The song, titled ”NYC Blues”, was written by Dylan in 1961 shortly after he arrived in Greenwich Village. Although it comes from his earliest, tentative days as a songwriter and the lyric was swiftly discarded, it contains at least one classic line : “I went to sleep at nite clean as I could be, When I awoke in the morning dirt all overme”.

The lyric, written in pencil on lined paper, was left by Dylan at the East 28th Street apartment of Mac and Eve McKenzie, with whom he stayed when he first arrived in New York.


The document is being offered for sale by their son, Peter McKenzie, who inherited it with other papers left by Dylan at the McKenzie home.

It is being sold with a certificate of authenticationand a letter from Peter McKenzie, stating: “This handwritten lyric by Bob Dylan for the song ‘NYC Blues’ is authentic and comes from my collection. Bob Dylan lived with my family during the early 1960s.”

Dylan wrote two well-known songs about his early days in the city; “Talking New York” which appeared on his debut album, and “Hard Times In New York Town”, which eventually got an official release 30 years after it was recorded on the Bootleg Series Vols 1-3.


The lyric of “NYC Blues”appears to predate both but the song is not listed in any of the standard Dylan reference works.

The full lyric is divided into six lines of uneven length and reads:

You ever been walking down the streets in NY town

Walking down east fourth St,

Call for the Mayor to fix the trouble there, mayor’ll say there ain’t no

trouble, it’s all down in Wash-S

Standing on the corner of Broadway an’ 49th seen so many people I never saw in my life

I went to sleep at nite clean as I could be when I awoke in the morning

dirt all over me

Now I don’t mind dirt cause there’s dirt on the land but did you ever see

dirty – that’s one thing I can’t stand

A seventh line begins “I…” and then stops, indicating that Dylan was dissatisfied with the lyric and at this point abandoned the song.

Bids are invited at http://www.rrauction.com/bidtracker_detail.cfm?IN=600


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