Bob Dylan apologizes for machine-printed “signatures” as handwritten lyric sheet hits market for $425,000
Bob Dylan has issued an apology after Simon and Schuster admitted that limited edition copies of his new book, The Philosophy of Modern Song, don't contain a hand-written signature from him as advertised, but a "penned replica" made by an autopen machine. The publisher, which had included notes from CEO Jonathan Karp with the limited books, reading "You hold in your hands something very special, one of just 900 copies available in the U.S., The Philosophy of Modern Song signed by Bob Dylan,” and continuing, “This letter is confirmation that the copy of the book you hold in your hand has been hand-signed by Bob Dylan," issued refunds of $600 to purchasers.
In his statement, Dylan said that "the idea of using auto-pen was suggested" to him, "along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done 'all the time' in the art and literary worlds," after he suffered an ongoing "bad case of vertigo" starting in 2019, and because of the challenges presented by the pandemic. "Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately," he continued. "I’m working with Simon & Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that." Read his statement in full below.
Meanwhile, some of Dylan's actual handwriting, a lyric sheet for "Desolation Row," written out in 1965, has been listed for sale by Moments in Time, for $425,000. "In terms of rarity, unlike 'Times They are A Changing,' 'Hard Rain,' 'Blowin’ in the Wind,' where several examples of each exist, there are no other examples of 'Desolation Row," the item's description reads. "Dylan’s archives in the Tulsa museum does not include any version of it. In over 50 years no other example of 'Desolation Row' has ever been hinted at existing."
STATEMENT FROM BOB DYLAN:
To my fans and followers,
I’ve been made aware that there’s some controversy about signatures on some of my recent artwork prints and on a limited-edition of Philosophy Of Modern Song. I’ve hand-signed each and every art print over the years, and there’s never been a problem.
However, in 2019 I had a bad case of vertigo and it continued into the pandemic years. It takes a crew of five working in close quarters with me to help enable these signing sessions, and we could not find a safe and workable way to complete what I needed to do while the virus was raging. So, during the pandemic, it was impossible to sign anything and the vertigo didn’t help. With contractual deadlines looming, the idea of using an auto-pen was suggested to me, along with the assurance that this kind of thing is done ‘all the time’ in the art and literary worlds.
Using a machine was an error in judgment and I want to rectify it immediately. I’m working with Simon & Schuster and my gallery partners to do just that.
With my deepest regrets,