<>

SUZE ROTOLO

1963 (Jim Marshall)

1985 (Thom Wolke)


Any copyrighted material on these pages is used in "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).
Audio files are DELIBERATELY encoded "low-fi" to enable faster streaming and are intended as "illustrations" and "appetizers" only.
Official and "hi-fi" recordings can (and should) be purchased at your local record dealer or through a number of web-based companies, like CDNow.



One of the most popular events at Gerde's was the Monday night hootenanny... It was at one of these hootenannies that Susan first laid eyes on Bob Dylan. "He would play with some guy called Mark Spoelstra. And Mark Spoelstra had lovely shoulders..." But it was Dylan's harmonica-playing that ultimately proved to be more of a magnet than Spoelstra's shoulders... "When I met Dylan, what I loved about him was the way he played the harmonica... He played with an earthiness that was wonderful..."

From time to time, Susan and Dylan would run into each other at parties. At a get-together after a day-long hootenanny at Riverside Church in July, at which Dylan had performed, Susan remembers, "I really got to know Dylan more. We were kind of flirting with each other..."

Then, it seems, all of a sudden they were a couple... Eventually, Susan and Dylan took an apartment together on West Fourth Street.

Victoria Balfour, Rock Wives -- Susan Rotolo: Bob Dylan, reprinted in Elizabeth Thomson & David Gutman, The Dylan Companion, London, 1991, pp. 73-75.


In mid-December 1961... Dylan moved into his first rented apartment, a tiny, scruffy place above Bruno's Spaghetti Shop [161 West Fourth Street], and persuaded his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, to move in with him.

It was in the middle of West Fourth Street, in February 1963, that Dylan and Suze, together again after seven months' separation, were photographed in the snow for the cover of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" by Columbia staff photographer Don Hunstein...

John Bauldie, Positively 4th Street Revisited, Q, No. 104, May 1995, p. 57


Former Greenbriar Boy John Herald reflects on that historical cover:
"It really captured the mood of the time. We all had girlfriends. We all felt that spirit."
Songwriter Carol Belsky describes the effect the cover had on her:
"Suze was the epitome of everything that was hip. I wanted to recreate the essence of that album cover. I wanted to dress like her and look like her. I wanted to be Susan Rotolo. That cover was the symbol of my generation, the free-spirited freedom."
Susan was a seventeen-year-old product of a cultured. left-wing, political family. She was... very familiar with the Village scene, because she had been hanging around there since her early teens. Susan was living in the Village with her older sister, Carla, when she began dating Dylan.

Robbie Woliver, Hoot! A 25-Year History of the Greenwich Village Music Scene, New York, NY, 1986, p. 73.


SUSAN ROTOLO:
People say I was an influence on him, but we influenced each otherHis interests were filtered through me and my interests, like the books I had, were filtered through him. There was a book of satirical cartoons from the Depression by Art Young that I showed him. It was during that time he was beginning to write his songs. It was wonderful satire.

My interest in Brecht was certainly an influence on him. I was working for the Circle in the Square Theatre and he came to listen all the time. He was very affected by the song that Lotte Lenya's known for, "Pirate Jenny."

It was always sincere on his part. He saw something. The guy saw things. He was definitely way, way ahead. His radar was flying. 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. It was not an intellectual approach that he had to research something -- he did it on his own.

Quoted ibid., pp. 75-76.


According to Robert Shelton (No Direction Home, London, 1987, p. 131), Dylan at one time (late 1961) talked about getting married to Suze Rotolo.


To Top of Page
To Fellow Folks Page
To Table of Contents
Back to Starting Page