Bruce Springsteen harmonicas and handwritten lyrics go up for auction

Handwritten lyrics to Bruce Springsteen songs ‘Thunder Road’, ‘For You’, and ‘Night’ are set to go under the hammer at auction later this month.

The sale – due to take place via Bonhams on October 28 – will also include two harmonicas which were used on the original recordings of ‘Thunder Road’ and ‘Johnny 99’.

The four-page ‘Thunder Road’ manuscript is written by Springsteen in pen on ruled notebook paper. It contains the entire song as recorded by The Boss for his 1975 album, ‘Born To Run’, but the final page features two different drafts of the opening verse. It is estimated to sell for somewhere between $50,000 and $70,000.

The ‘For You’ lyrics are also written in pen on ruled notebook paper. It matches up almost perfectly with the final version on the album, but it does not contain the line “but you did not need my urgency” and has the word “your” instead of “my” in the line “don’t give me my money, honey”. It is estimated that it will go for $25,000 to $30,000.

The ‘Night’ manuscript is three pages and features the words just as they appear on the album. It is estimated to sell for $25,0000 to $30,000.

Bruce Springsteen auction

As for the harmonicas, the one used on ‘Thunder Road’ is a Hohner Marine Band “F” Harmonica with box, and it comes with a signed, dated and notarised letter from Mike Batlan, who worked for Springsteen as a musical instrument technician from 1973 to 1985. It is expected to draw $5,000 to $7,000.

The second harmonica is a Hohner Marine Band “E” Harmonica that was used on the song ‘Johnny 99’, taken from Springsteen’s 1982 album ‘Nebraska’. Once again coming with a box, it too is accompanied by a signed and dated letter from Batlan regarding the provenance. It is expected to draw $2,000 to $2,500.

All of the items have been in the hands of a private collector who acquired them from Batlan.

Bruce Springsteen auction

To find out more about the auction and how to bid, visit Bonhams website here.

Elsewhere in the auction, a host of Beatles memorabilia will be up for grabs including two handwritten setlists from the early days of the band.

Bonhams’ Senior Specialist of Music for their Popular Culture department, Howard Kramer, explained the significance of both setlists in a statement to Rolling Stone.

“At this point, the Beatles were about to become a band in the truest sense,” he said of the 1960 setlist. “Pete Best had yet to join the band and the first Hamburg engagement was about two months out. Pretty soon, there was no looking back.”