BOSTON – A rare handwritten letter by Bob Dylan to an old Greenwich Village friend sold for $29,645 according to Boston-based RR Auction.
The one-page letter postmarked July 26, 1975 read in part: “Usually I write songs and put it all there so I don’t write too many letters. Are you still in New York? I am. If you are, I am making a record starting Monday. You can sing on it if you want. Columbia Studios. 50th and Madison. Studio E. If not maybe next time.”
The recipient, Debbie Green (1940-2017), was a talented folk musician who taught Joan Baez the guitar and later toured and recorded with her husband, singer-songwriter Eric Andersen, as part of the Greenwich Village folk scene during the 1960s.
The couple moved to California in 1970, had a child, and then separated. In early 1975, after a dinner with Eric Kaz in the Village, Green made an impromptu vocal performance at The Bitter End in what turned out to be a surprise audition for Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue concert tour. When Green returned to her Mill Valley home for the summer, she found this letter from Dylan, who, impressed by her performance, inquired if she wanted to sing on his forthcoming Columbia Records album Desire.
Green had to decline the offer: “I couldn’t have gone on tour for that long anyway. Sari was in school and I was a mom.” The recording of Desire pushed ahead, as did Dylan’s historic Rolling Thunder Revue tour, which played a total of 57 shows from October 30, 1975 to May 25, 1976, and was highlighted by a benefit concert for imprisoned boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter on Dec. 8 in Madison Square Garden.
“It’s incredibly rare to see handwritten letters from Bob Dylan — this is one of the few that we have seen in almost 40 years in business,” said Bobby Livingston, executive vice president at RR Auction.
Additional highlights from the sale included:
– C.J. Ramone’s stage-worn leather jacket sold for $11,272.
– Beatles signed first pressing of Please Please Me, fully signed at Fairfield Halls in 1963 sold for $30,671.
– Led Zeppelin fully signed Led Zeppelin II album sold for $27,621.
– Jim Morrison signed vintage glossy photograph sold for $26.348.
– Buddy Holly signed concert photograph sold for $18,376.
– Prince handwritten lyrics for Mutiny sold for $16,843.
– The Who signed 1971 Sunderland concert poster sold for $14,703.
– Bob Marley and the Wailers signed German pressing of Marley’s Uprising album sold for $12,383.