Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The Story behind the T-shirt: The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (Part 1)
One of our T-shirts is dedicated to the great genius of Bob Dylan and one of his masterpieces, The Freewheelin’, his second album, which was also his big breakthrough, with songs like “Masters Of War” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” and, of course, “Blowin’ In The Wind”. The album cover is one of the best in rock history and our T-shirt stamp is an adaptation of the cover, a drawing painted with watercolors and finepens. But… what’s the story behind the album cover? To begin with, the cover picture -taken by CBS staff photographer Don Hunstein- presents a young Dylan (he was only 22) walking through a corridor of parked cars and tallish buildings laced with fire escapes along with her girlfriend of those days, Suze Rotolo. The photo was taken in Greenwich Village, in the corner of Jones Street and West 4th Street, just a few steps from the apartment they shared. They are both walking to the camera; Bob looks shy and nervous, and gazes at his shoes, while Suze, attractive and thoughtful looking, smiles and looks to the camera. They look like a happy couple; they were, in fact, deeply in love around those days, and it is said that some of the love songs Dylan wrote for this album (“Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright”, “Down The Highway”) were inspired by this relationship. However, they have met some months ago (when Bob was 20 and Suze 17), and they would separate soon; this photo was taken after Suze’s six-month trip to Italy. Bob was affected by her sudden absence and, when she returned, things would never be the same: he would soon leave her and fall into Joan Baez’s arms. Nevertheless, this photo captures the instant moment of a man who was about to become a legend, and is one of rock`s best album covers. The circumstances behind the shoot are described by Rotolo in a book that was recently published: A Freewheelin' Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties. The cover of the book is, not surprisingly, this famous photo too. Coming soon: the next post, Part 2, will feature a detailed description of how our Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan T-shirt was created.