A manuscript handwritten by Bruce Springsteen of his iconic 1975 hit Born to Run has achieved double its estimated price on auction at Sotheby’s on Thursday. They thought it would sell at between $70,000 and $100,000, but a Bruce Springsteen fan or collector went way better than that by bidding $197,000 and closing the sale.
Reportedly the opening bid for the manuscript, with its 30 handwritten lines on note paper, was $40,000.
Up until a while ago, the document was owned by Springsteen’s former manager, Mike Appel, but has changed hands since. Sotheby’s have not revealed the name of either the person who sold the manuscript, or the person who bid for the valuable document over the phone.
The title song from the multi-platinum album by Springsteen has been popular with fans of all ages over the years.
Most of the lyrics were apparently written by Springsteen in 1974, when he was in Long Branch, New Jersey and some of the lyrics in the document are unpublished and have never been recorded.
The document does apparently include an almost perfect chorus from Born to Run and is said to be only one of two known manuscripts to contain the song’s most well-known lines.
The lyric sheet for Born to Run, handwritten using blue ink on ruled notepaper also has several scribbled notes in the margins including enigmatic words like “angels” and “wild”. There is also possibly the word “velocity.”
Springsteen, 26 years old at the time, played with what became the final lines of the song in the manuscript.
For instance, he wrote “This town’ll rip the (out your) bones from your back” which was finally published as “Baby this town rips the bones from your back.”
He further mentions in his notes the words “suicide trap”, which was published in the final song as “suicide rap.” However, Sotheby’s noted that the “imagery and tone” are consistent with the final published song.
While the newly sold manuscript, which fetched a hefty $197,000, was quite a bit different from the actual album, Bruce Springsteen did retain those famous words, Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.
According to Sotheby’s Springsteen is well known to work using an intensive, hand-written drafting method. However they added that few handwritten notes of Born to Run are known to be out there and available on the market. On the ownership of the document, they confirmed that the previous owner had acquired it from Springsteen’s manager, Mike Appel.
Appel was the co-producer of Springsteen’s first two albums Greetings from Asbury Park and The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. Apparently Appel and Springsteen then had a falling out while recording Born to Run, leading to a court case which threatened Springsteen’s career.
The pair have apparently made their peace over the years and Springsteen now calls Appel a “good friend.”
Springsteen released no more new music until 1978, when he produced the album Darkness on the Edge of Town.
Bruce Springsteen continues to entertain his fans worldwide and his popularity continues to rise, as can be seen as the Born to Run manuscript sells for $197,000. His latest album, High Hopes, is scheduled for release soon and included below is a video version of the epic Born to Run.
By Anne Sewell