Carla Rotolo bitterly regretted introducing her 18 year old sister Suze to the young folk singer. Suze fell madly in love and soon left home to move in with him. Carla and her mother Mary contemptuously referred to him as “The Twerp” and cast aspersions on his personal hygiene. Suze didn’t mind- she called him “Pig”. After the affair ended and Suze moved back home “The Twerp” turned up to see Suze and an almighty row broke out which ended with The Twerp and Carla brawling on the floor and Suze screaming in hysterics.
In the meantime Suze had had a profound influence on the young folk singer whose real name was Robert Zimmerman, otherwise known as Bob Dylan. Suze was on the radical left and roped him into her political campaigns. Several of the songs on his Freewheeling album, the one which made him famous and has Suze on the cover, echo those beliefs. For Dylan it was a juvenile fad which didn’t outlast the affair. He moved on, stopped being a folk singer, moved into the mainstream and took on a backing band. In the following year, 1965, he was booed when he appeared on stage with electric guitars and was called a traitor.
It’s often said that the boos were prompted by Dylan’s switch from acoustic to electric guitar. That’s a misconception. The boos were from hard-core politicos who couldn’t take the fact that the young troubadour had grown up. The audience didn’t know it, but it was all down to Suze.
These reflections were prompted by the news that Suze had died of cancer, aged 67. She died in the arms of the man she had married 40 years ago. She met the man she was to marry in Perugia, to where she had been sent by her mother in 1963 to get her away from The Twerp. Well done, Mum.