Suze Rotolo: Bob Dylan's muse in a freewheelin' time

Thu Jul 3, 2008 1:26pm EDT
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By Philip Pullella

NEW YORK (Reuters) - It's not easy living with having been the muse and lover of any great artist, let alone someone with demigod status like Bob Dylan.

But that's the baggage that Suze Rotolo, who lived with Dylan in the 1960s and was a major influence in his early work, has been carrying for nearly half a century.

Now she has broken her silence with a book, "A Freewheelin' Time - A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties" published by Broadway Books, an imprint of Doubleday.

"He's the elephant in the room of my life," said Rotolo, now 64, as she discussed her book and her life over iced tea in a restaurant near the Greenwich Village loft where she lives with her family.

"I'm glad I came out," said Rotolo, a soft spoken woman with an easy smile who works as a visual artist.

She unwittingly became an icon of the Sixties in 1963 when Columbia records chose a picture of her walking arm-in-arm with Dylan on a snowy Greenwich Village street for the cover of his groundbreaking second album "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan."

A nearly identical picture from the same publicity shoot graces the cover of her nearly 400-page memoir.

It tells the story of a shy young Italian-American girl from Queens who moved across the East River to Greenwich Village to find herself, and got caught up in the whirlwind of the early sixties folk music scene and civil rights movement.   Continued...

<p>Suze Rotolo, an author, smiles in the Greenwich Village section of New York, July 2, 2008. Rotolo recently finished her book "A Freewheelin' Time - A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties" about life in New York and her time spent with artist Bob Dylan. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>