Bruce Springsteen fans may think they know the lyrics of “Born to Run” backward and forward. The title track of Springsteen’s 1975 album is not only one of Springsteen’s most recognizable songs, but also arguably one of the defining moments of ‘70s rock.
“At a time when rock ‘n’ roll had lost much of its heroic lure,” the Los Angeles Times once wrote of the album, “Springsteen gave us reason to believe again in the music and ourselves — a youthful self-affirmation that was absolutely thrilling.”
But even the most dedicated of Springsteen fans may not remember this lyric: “I was heading for the place where wild angels die in an everlasting or neverending kiss.” Part of that phrase made it into the version of the song on the album, but that line is taken from what auction house Sotheby’s says is an early draft of the lyrics.
The rough manuscript of “Born to Run” that will be auctioned next week is believed to be handwritten by Springsteen and dates to 1974. The lyrics are composed in blue ink, and the autographed sheet of paper contains notes in the margins and revisions throughout. Sotheby’s says the lyrics were composed in Long Branch, N.J.
The instantly recognizable “tramps like us” line is in this early cut, but the familiar character of Wendy appears to be absent. Springsteen seems to have also tinkered between using the words “rebels” or “heroes” on numerous points throughout the song, and the phrase “suicide trap” is present, but “death trap” is still off the handwritten page.
But before you put the lyrics on your Christmas list, you’ll want to make sure you have a year or two’s salary set aside. Sotheby’s estimated the draft to go for between $70,000 and $100,000.
“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,” an unnamed Sotheby’s representative told the Associated Press.
The “Born to Run” lyrics will be offered for auction on Dec. 5.
Springsteen, has set Jan. 14 for the release of “High Hopes,” a new studio album with some old familiar tunes. The artist’s 18th studio album overall, the Columbia Records effort will be the artist’s first since 2012’s “Wrecking Ball." The 12 tracks of “High Hopes” will consist of covers of other artists, studio outtakes and new recordings of songs that have morphed during their live presentations.