DALLAS – One of the rarest artifacts of Bob Dylan’s illustrious career will get a spin in Heritage Auctions’ Music Memorabilia Signature® Auction July 9-10. Dylan’s 1963 original Freewheelin’ album includes four tracks that were deleted and ultimately replaced by others before the album was distributed upon its release in May 1963. Almost all of the mono and stereo copies of the album with the original musical lineup were destroyed. The album is estimated at $48,000-$72,000. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
“Bob Dylan is known as a musical icon in his generation, but also for being an exceptionally private person,” Heritage Auctions Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Director Garry Shrum said. “Copies of this album are exceedingly hard to locate, because before it was released to the public, it changed, with the removal of four songs. Finding a copy with the original songs included is something of a Holy Grail among music collectors of the era. Even better – this copy includes the original songs also printed on the labels themselves, but the jacket lists the replacement songs.”
This version of the iconic LP has the four original tracks – Rocks and Gravel, Let Me Die in My Footsteps, Gamblin’ Willie’s Dead Man’s Hand and Talkin’ John Birch Blues – on the red Columbia labels, and in the vinyl recording. The jacket, on the other hand, lists the four replacement tracks: Masters of War, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Bob Dylan’s Dream and Talkin’ World War III Blues.
Before he became an iconic voice of a generation, Dylan was rejected from performing Talkin’ John Birch Blues on The Ed Sullivan Show, and CBS Inc., took this so-called “controversial” song off the album. Dylan was on his second album, following up a poor-selling self-titled debut LP.
Dylan never has spelled out why three other songs were removed from Freewheelin’, so the mystery remains.
“I was so amazed to see this when it came into our office,” Shrum said. “In all my years of going to record conventions and owning record stores, this is like finding a needle within a needle in a haystack.”
To ensure its authenticity, the matrix numbers on the run-out grooves reveal the following: Side One is XSM-58719-1A and Side Two is XSM-58720-1A. All pressings after that, with the common songs on the disc, label and jacket, list “-2A” instead of “1.”
“This is such an exciting find for us, as we all love Bob Dylan’s work,” Shrum said. “We look forward to finding a home for this jewel of a vinyl LP.”
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