Exploring Musicians’ Handwritten Lyrics to Famous Songs


Before the vocals and melodies of some of our favorite tunes are ever recorded, the maestros behind the music put pen to paper and construct songs. Whether these working drafts are scribbled on legal pads, neatly spelled out in ink, or scribed alongside silly doodles, the ritual of writing out lyrics unites everyone from The Beatles to Lykke Li. We’ve rounded up a collection of hand-scrawled lyrics to beloved songs, in all their first-draft glory, after the jump.

John Lennon’s lyrics for “A Day In The Life”

Bob Dylan’s lyrics for “The Times They Are-A Changin'” [via]

George Harrison’s lyrics for “Here Comes The Sun” [via]

Jim Morrison’s lyrics for “LA Woman” [via]

Prince’s lyrics for “Purple Rain” [via]

Michael Jackson’s lyrics to “Beat It” [via]

Tito Jackson’s lyrics for the Jackson 5’s “ABC” [via]

Adele’s lyrics for “Rolling in the Deep” [via]

Jimi Hendrix’s lyrics for “Machine Gun” [via]

Kurt Cobain’s lyrics for “Floyd the Barber” and “Paper Cuts” [via]

Lykke Li’s lyrics for “Get Some” [via]

Freddie Mercury’s lyrics for “Fat-Bottomed Girls” [via]

Suzanne Vega’s lyrics for “Tom’s Diner” [via]

Gareth Campesinos’ lyrics for Los Campesinos!’s “By Your Hand” [via]

Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics for “Born To Run” [via]

David Bowie’s lyrics for “Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing (Reprise)” [via]

Paul McCartney’s lyrics for “Honey Pie” [via]

Robert Smith’s lyrics for “Lullaby” [via]