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NY Trivia: An Iconic Album Cover

Q: In the picture on the cover of Bob Dylan’s album, “Freewheelin,” what street are Dylan and Suze Rotolo standing on?

A: The corner of Jones Street and West 4th Street in Greenwich Village.

The cover for Dylan’s second album was taken in February 1963, close to the apartment where the couple lived at the time.

In 2008, Rotolo described the circumstances surrounding the famous photo to The New York Times: “He wore a very thin jacket, because image was all. Our apartment was always cold, so I had a sweater on, plus I borrowed one of his big, bulky sweaters. On top of that I put on a coat. So I felt like an Italian sausage. Every time I look at that picture, I think I look fat.”

In her memoir, A Freewheelin’ Time, Rotolo analyzed the significance of the cover image: “It is one of those cultural markers that influenced the look of album covers precisely because of its casual down-home spontaneity and sensibility. Most album covers were carefully staged and controlled, to terrific effect on the Blue Note jazz album covers … and to not-so great-effect on the perfectly posed and clean-cut pop and folk albums. Whoever was responsible for choosing that particular photograph for The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan really had an eye for a new look.

Janet Maslin summed up the iconic impact of the cover as “a photograph that inspired countless young men to hunch their shoulders, look distant, and let the girl do the clinging.”

Join Menorah for a celebration of Jewish New York, honoring Professor David Shneer. Sunday, September 18, 5:30 pm at the Avalon Ballroom.  To register for “New York, New York” click here. Questions?  contact Kathryn@boulderjcc.org or visit www.boulderjcc.org.

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Kathryn Bernheimer
Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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