Bruce Springsteen’s original handwritten manuscript lyrics to Born to Run are valued at $200,000-300,000 ahead of an auction at Sotheby’s, New York scheduled for June 18-28.
Springsteen wrote the song at home in Long Branch, New Jersey over six months. While he was a big name in his native state (and along the rest of the east coast), Born to Run is often described as Springsteen’s last ditch attempt at stardom.
His previous two albums, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle, had been well received but didn’t come close to bothering the charts. At 25, Springsteen risked remaining a local hero.
He put his all into this song, endlessly playing around with the arrangement and recording the guitar line 11 times to ensure maximum impact.
It all paid off. The track was a huge hit on its release and, combined with rumours of incendiary live shows, helped propel Springsteen and the E Street Band from underground success to international acclaim.
With its references to hot rods, New Jersey highways and escaping small town life it’s the quintessential Springsteen track. It remains a signature for the band and a firm favourite for fans the world over. That’s likely to have an impact on the price paid.
This version differs greatly from the finished song, but the legendary chorus is almost fully formed. It last sold for $197,000 in 2013.
Bob Dylan’s original lyrics to Like a Rolling Stone, arguably his own signature song, made a world record $2m at auction in 2014.