Suze Rotolo, one-time girlfriend and artistic muse to Bob Dylan, died last week after a long illness at the age of 67, according to Rolling Stone.
Rotolo, who famously appears arm in arm with Dylan on the cover of his 1963 album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, began dating the artist formerly known as Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1961 when she was just 17. She acted as inspiration for such Dylan songs as Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, Boots of Spanish Leather and Tomorrow Is A Long Time. Rotolo is also regarded as one of Dylan’s main political influences.
Dylan’s first encounter with Queens-born Rotolo is described in his memoir Chronicles with, “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-blooded 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.”
The two split in 1963 as Dylan grew closer to Joan Baez, for Rotolo to marry Italian filmmaker Enzo Bartoccioli in 1970. The two lived in New York for the rest of their lives and had a son, Luca.
Rotolo appeared in Martin Scorsese’s 2005 film about Dylan No Direction Home and also wrote her own book about her experiences amid the New York folk set, A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties.