Bruce Springsteen's 'Born to Run' Manuscript Up for Auction

Handwritten draft estimated to fetch at least $70,000

Bruce Springsteen performs at the Carlton Theatre during the Born To Run tour on October 11th, 1975 in Red Bank, New Jersey.
Fin Costello/Redferns
November 30, 2013 2:08 PM ET

Bruce Springsteen fans with plenty of spare cash will have an opportunity to own a unique piece of history next week. On December 5th, Sotheby's will be auctioning an early working draft of the lyrics to Springsteen's 1975 hit, "Born to Run."

According to the notes from the auction house, the lyrics on the sheet were hand-written by a 26-year-old Springsteen in West Long Branch, New Jersey in early 1974. Most of the lyrics in this early draft did not make it into the final version, but Springsteen's marginal notes and alternate word choices offer remarkable insight into his working methods and his thought process as he developed the lead single off his third album.

See Where 'Born to Run' Ranks Among Our 500 Greatest Songs of All Time

"Although Springsteen is known to have an intensive drafting process, few manuscripts of 'Born to Run' are available, with the present example being one of only two identified that include the most famous lines in the song," according to the auction notes. "This iteration expresses the darkness that the early versions are known for, but has the distinction of a nearly perfected chorus."

The autographed manuscript page, written in blue ink on a single sheet of ruled notebook paper, comes from the collection of Mike Appel, Springsteen's former manager and a co-producer of the Born to Run album. The draft is expected to fetch between $70,000 and $100,000, according to Sotheby's pre-sale estimate. 

Springsteen's latest album, High Hopes, which contains a mix of covers, studio outtakes and re-recorded originals, is due out on January 14th.

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