|Died||February 25, 2011 67) (aged|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Known for||Appearing on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan|
|Partner(s)||Bob Dylan (1961—1964)|
Susan Elizabeth Rotolo (November 20, 1943 – February 25, 2011), known as Suze Rotolo ( // SOO-zee), was an American artist, and the girlfriend of Bob Dylan from 1961 to 1964. Dylan later acknowledged her strong influence on his music and art during that period. Rotolo is the woman walking with him on the cover of his 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan , a photograph by the Columbia Records studio photographer Don Hunstein. In her book A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties, Rotolo described her time with Dylan and other figures in the folk music and bohemian scene in Greenwich Village, New York. She discussed her upbringing as a "red diaper" baby—a child of Communist Party USA members during the McCarthy Era. As an artist, she specialized in artists' books and taught at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Rotolo, of Italian-American descent, was born at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, New York, and raised in Sunnyside, Queens.Her parents were Joachim and Mary (née Pezzati) Rotolo, who were members of the American Communist Party. In June, 1960, she graduated from Bryant High School.
At about the time she met Dylan, Rotolo began working full-time as a political activist in the office of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE),and the anti-nuclear group SANE. She and her sister Carla had also entered the Greenwich Village folk scene. Rotolo first met Dylan at a Riverside Church folk concert in July 1961. They were introduced by Carla, who at that time was working as an assistant to folklorist Alan Lomax. Describing their meeting in his memoir, Chronicles, Volume One , Dylan wrote:
Right from the start I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was the most erotic thing I’d ever seen. She was fair skinned and golden haired, full-blood Italian. The air was suddenly filled with banana leaves. We started talking and my head started to spin. Cupid’s arrow had whistled past my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard... Meeting her was like stepping into the tales of 1001 Arabian Nights . She had a smile that could light up a street full of people and was extremely lively, had a kind of voluptuousness—a Rodin sculpture come to life.
It was not until they met that Dylan's writing began to address issues such as the civil rights movement and the threat of nuclear war.They started living together in early 1962, much to the disapproval of her family. As Dylan's fame grew, Rotolo found the relationship increasingly stressful. She wrote:
Bob was charismatic: he was a beacon, a lighthouse, he was also a black hole. He required committed backup and protection I was unable to provide consistently, probably because I needed them myself.... I could no longer cope with all the pressure, gossip, truth and lies that living with Bob entailed. I was unable to find solid ground. I was on quicksand and very vulnerable.
Rotolo left New York in June 1962, with her mother, to spend six months studying art at the University of Perugia in Italy. She was known there as Justine Rotolo, having used an invented middle name to register as "S. Justine Rotolo".Dylan's separation from his girlfriend has been credited as the inspiration behind several of his finest love songs, including "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright", "Tomorrow Is a Long Time", "One Too Many Mornings", and "Boots of Spanish Leather".
Rotolo's political views were widely regarded as having influenced Dylan's topical songwriting. Dylan also credited her with interesting him in the French poet, Arthur Rimbaud, who heavily influenced his writing style.The influence of Bertolt Brecht on Dylan's songwriting has also been acknowledged by Dylan as stemming from Rotolo's participation in Brechtian theater during their relationship. In Chronicles, Dylan describes the impact of the song "Pirate Jenny" while attending a Brecht show on which Rotolo worked. Dylan's interest in painting can also be traced back to his relationship with Rotolo, who had emphasised her shared values with Dylan in an interview with author Robbie Woliver:
People say I was an influence on him, but we influenced each other. His interests were filtered through me and my interests, like the books I had, were filtered through him ... It was always sincere on his part. The guy saw things. He had an incredible ability to see and sponge—there was a genius in that. The ability to create out of everything that's flying around. To synthesize it. To put it in words and music."
Rotolo became pregnant in 1963 by Dylan and had an abortion.Their relationship failed to survive the abortion, Dylan's affair with Joan Baez, and the hostility of the Rotolo family. Suze moved into her sister's apartment in August 1963. She and Dylan broke up in 1964, in circumstances which Dylan described in his "Ballad in Plain D". Twenty years later he apologized for the song, saying: "I must have been a real schmuck to write that. I look back at that particular one and say, of all the songs I've written, maybe I could have left that alone."
Rotolo traveled to Cuba in June 1964, with a group, although it was unlawful for United States citizens to do so.She was quoted as saying, in regard to opponents of Fidel Castro that, "These gusanos [worms] are not suppressed. There can be open criticism of the regime. As long as they keep it to talk they are tolerated, as long as there is no sabotage."
Rotolo married Italian Enzo Bartoccioli, a film editor who worked for the United Nations, in 1967.Together they had one son, Luca, who is a guitarist in New York. In New York, Rotolo worked as an illustrator and painter, before concentrating on creating book art, things resembling books but incorporating found objects. Remaining politically active, Rotolo joined the street-theater group Billionaires for Bush and protested at the 2004 Republican National Convention in Manhattan.
Rotolo avoided discussing her relationship with Dylan for decades. In July 2004, she was interviewed in a documentary produced by New York PBS Channel 13 and The New York Daily News. In November 2004, she made an unannounced appearance at the Experience Music Project, on a panel discussing Dylan's early days in Greenwich Village. She and her husband also were involved in putting on a memorial event for Dave van Ronk after the singer's death in 2002. Rotolo made an appearance in Martin Scorsese's documentary film, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan , which focused on Dylan's early career from 1961 to 1966. This film was broadcast as part of the American Masters series on PBS public television in September 2005. Rotolo was also interviewed nationally in 2008 by Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air to promote her book, A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties,which was published by Broadway Books on May 13, 2008. Rotolo recounted her attempts not to be overshadowed by her relationship with Dylan. She discussed her need to pursue her artistic creativity and to retain her political integrity, concluding:
The sixties were an era that spoke a language of inquiry and curiosity and rebelliousness against the stifling and repressive political and social culture of the decade that preceded it. The new generation causing all the fuss was not driven by the market: we had something to say, not something to sell."
The image of Rotolo walking with Dylan on the cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan proved impossible to shake off, but equally difficult to accept. The New York Times , reviewing her book, observed that
Even 40 years later, she seems uncomfortable delving into her time with Dylan. Perhaps an inherent contradiction is the problem: she’s writing about her unwillingness to be defined by her relationship to a famous man, in a book with Dylan on the cover.
The Guardian , too, notes that Rotolo is defined as "the girl with the wistful eyes and hint of a smile whose head is resting on the suede-jacketed shoulder of a nice-looking young man as they trudge through the snow on the cover of 1963's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan." The review agrees with the New York Times's comment ("a disconnected list") that the book is "oddly organised", but at once adds "though not as random as it seems". Nathalie Rothschild, writing in The Guardian after Rotolo's death, noted that Rotolo had worked hard to escape the epithets of "Bob Dylan's muse" and "the girl on the front cover of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan", insisting in her memoir that she had been more than "a string on Dylan's guitar".
Rotolo died of lung cancer at her home in New York City's NoHo neighborhood on February 25, 2011, aged 67.
In the 2007 film I'm Not There , a fictional account of Bob Dylan's life, there is a version of Rotolo's relationship with Dylan.Heath Ledger plays Robbie Clark, one of six Dylan-based characters in the film. Charlotte Gainsbourg plays Claire, the wife of Robbie. This character has been described as a combination of Sara Dylan, Dylan's first wife, and Suze Rotolo. In the film, Robbie meets Claire in a Greenwich Village diner and they fall in love. The scene in which Robbie and Claire run romantically through the streets of New York re-enacts the cover of the 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan .
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on May 27, 1963 by Columbia Records. Whereas his self-titled debut album Bob Dylan had contained only two original songs, this album represented the beginning of Dylan's writing contemporary words to traditional melodies. Eleven of the thirteen songs on the album are Dylan's original compositions. It opens with "Blowin' in the Wind", which became an anthem of the 1960s, and an international hit for folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary soon after the release of the album. The album featured several other songs which came to be regarded as among Dylan's best compositions and classics of the 1960s folk scene: "Girl from the North Country", "Masters of War", "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right".
Another Side of Bob Dylan is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 8, 1964, by Columbia Records.
The Times They Are a-Changin' is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on January 13, 1964 by Columbia Records. Whereas his previous albums Bob Dylan and The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan consisted of original material among cover songs, Dylan's third album was the first to feature only original compositions. The album consists mostly of stark, sparsely arranged ballads concerning issues such as racism, poverty, and social change. The title track is one of Dylan's most famous; many feel that it captures the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s.
"It Ain't Me Babe" is a song by Bob Dylan that originally appeared on his fourth album Another Side of Bob Dylan, which was released in 1964 by Columbia Records. According to music critic Oliver Trager, this song, along with others on the album, marked a departure for Dylan as he began to explore the possibilities of language and deeper levels of the human experience. Within a year of its release, the song was picked up as a single by folk rock act the Turtles and country artist Johnny Cash.
The Bread and Puppet Theater is a politically radical puppet theater, active since the 1960s, based in Glover, Vermont as of January 2020. Its founder and director are Peter and Elka Schumann.
Mary Teresa Pezzati Rotolo Bowes was an American writer and political activist. Her daughters were Carla and Suze Rotolo. Suze Rotolo was one of Bob Dylan's early girlfriends in New York City.
Sara Dylan is an American former actress and model who was the first wife of singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. In 1959, Noznisky was wed to magazine photographer Hans Lownds, during which time she was known as Sara Lownds.
"Masters of War" is a song by Bob Dylan, written over the winter of 1962–63 and released on the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan in the spring of 1963. The song's melody was adapted from the traditional "Nottamun Town". Dylan's lyrics are a protest against the Cold War nuclear arms build-up of the early 1960s.
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, author and visual artist. Often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Dylan has been a major figure in popular culture during a career spanning nearly 60 years. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s, when songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" (1963) and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" (1964) became anthems for the civil rights and anti-war movements. His lyrics during this period incorporated a range of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences, defying pop music conventions and appealing to the burgeoning counterculture.
I'm Not There is a 2007 musical drama film directed by Todd Haynes, and co-written by Haynes and Oren Moverman. It is an unconventional biographical film inspired by the life and music of American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Six actors depict different facets of Dylan's public personas: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw. A caption at the start of the film declares it to be "inspired by the music and the many lives of Bob Dylan"; this is the only mention of Dylan in the film apart from song credits, and his only appearance in it is concert footage from 1966 shown during the film's final moments.
"Bob Dylan's Dream" is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1963. It was recorded by Dylan on April 24, 1963, and was released by Columbia Records a month later on the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.
"Girl from the North Country" is a song written by Bob Dylan. It was recorded at Columbia Recording Studios in New York City in April 1963, and released the following month as the second track on Dylan's second studio album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Dylan re-recorded the song as a duet with Johnny Cash in February 1969. That recording became the opening track on Nashville Skyline, Dylan's ninth studio album.
Howard Sounes is a British author, journalist and biographer.
"Ballad in Plain D" is the tenth track of Bob Dylan's fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan, and—at 8 minutes, 18 seconds—the longest song on the album. The song recounts the circumstances surrounding the disintegration of Dylan's relationship with Suze Rotolo.
Jones Street is a street located in Greenwich Village in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It runs from Bleecker Street and West 4th Street. Jones Street is often confused with Great Jones Street in NoHo, located a little more than a half-mile to the east.
Gil Turner was an American folk singer-songwriter, magazine editor, Shakespearean actor, political activist, and for a time, a lay Baptist preacher. Turner was a prominent figure in the Greenwich Village scene of the early 1960s, where he was master of ceremonies at New York City's leading folk music venue, Gerde's Folk City, as well as co-editor of the protest song magazine Broadside. He also wrote for Sing Out!, the quarterly folk music journal.
"Mama, You Been on My Mind" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Written in 1964 during a trip to Europe, the song dealt with his recent breakup with his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo. Dylan first recorded the song in June of that year during a session for his album Another Side of Bob Dylan. However, the song was not included on the album, and Dylan's version remained unreleased until 1991. In total, in the 1990s and 2000s four versions were put out on Dylan's Bootleg Series of releases, including two live performances with Joan Baez from 1964 and 1975.
Carla Rotolo was an American artist, folk singer and folk music researcher.
Donald Robert Hunstein was an American photographer.
"Down the Highway" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. It was recorded on July 9, 1962 at Studio A, Columbia Recording Studios, New York, produced by John Hammond. The song was released on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan on May 27, 1963. It is a twelve-bar blues love song, which Dylan told his girlfriend Suze Rotolo he had written about her.