American artist Suze Rotolo, perhaps best remembered as being Bob Dylan’s flame in the early sixties and the inspiration behind many of his love songs, has died at the age of 67 following a long illness.
Dylan got together with Rotolo in 1961, just before he became famous. In his 2004 memoir Chronicles Volume One, he describes the impact Rotolo, then 17, had on him when they met at a concert: “Right from the start I couldn’t take my eyes off her,” Dylan wrote. “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.”
By the following year they were living together and they remained a pair for three years, during which Rotolo inspired some of his songs like Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right and Tomorrow Is a Long Time. She also graced the cover of his iconic album The Freewheelin Bob Dylan, but in the same year they split after Dylan’s growing fame put too big a strain on their relationship and rumors of his affair with Joan Baez gained momentum.
Her friend Jim Hoberman wrote that she “died in her New York apartment in the arms of her husband of 40 years, Enzo Bartoccioli”, to whom she was married for forty years. They had one son, Luca.
Images: Wikimedia Commons and iamthechildofthemoon.blogspot.com