Just in time for Bob Dylan’s birthday ( OK, a few days late — his 68th birthday was May 24th), I’ll note that at this very moment the public library in Toms River, N.J., at the most southern end of the Jersey Shore, is hosting a talk by none other than Suze Rotolo — yes, that Suze, the one who’s walking arm-in-arm down Jones Street in the West Village on the cover of an album titled “Freewheelin” by her then-boyfriend Bob Dylan.
I’ve read and recommend Rotolo’s very entertaining book “A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties,” in which she writes about her relationship with young Dylan but also offers a fascinating glimpse of the Village’s folk scene and the 1960s youth culture.
I’ve mentioned this once before but I’ll mention it again. One of my proudest moments as a father took place a couple of years ago when I was walking up West Fourth Street with my son Matt, stopped at a corner, pointed to a street, and asked him what was significant about that spot at Jones Street and West Fourth. He answered within 30 seconds that this was the place where the “Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” album photo was taken.
Here’s an alternate version of that classic, iconic photo:
Here’s a list of songs on what was truly Dylan’s first great album:
Blowin’ in the Wind; Girl from the North County; Masters of War; Down the Highway; Bob Dylan’s Blues; A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall; Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright; Bob Dylan’s Dream; Talking World War III Blues; Oxford Town; Corinna, Corrina; Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance; and I Shall Be Free.
“Freewheelin” came out in 1963, when Dylan in his early 20s. That was 45 years ago!
Here’s a clip of young Bobby Dylan singing “Tomorrow Is a Long Time,” which was probably inspired by his relationships with Suze Rotolo: