Shooting Bob Dylan album art on Jones Street

It’s one of the most recognizable (and romantic) album covers of all time—
photographed in February 1963 on tiny Jones Street, around the corner from Dylan’s $60 a month studio at 161 West Fourth Street.

And no one had any idea that the image chosen as the cover shot for Dylan’s second album would become so iconic.

The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan cover photograph came about rather casually; it certainly wasn’t planned or produced in any way,” recalls Dylan’s girlfriend Suze Rotolo (that’s her, clutching Dylan’s arm)  in her 2009 book A Freewheelin’ Time: A Memoir of Greenwich Village in the Sixties.

“Bob stuck his hands in the pockets of his jeans and leaned into me. We walked the length of Jones Street facing West Fourth with Bleecker Street at our backs.” This is the same view, on a February day almost 50 years later.

“The snow on the streets was slushy and filthy from the traffic. Don [Hunstein; a staff photographer at Columbia Records] kept clicking away. . . . In some of the outtakes it’s obvious that by then we were freezing; certainly Bob was, in that thin jacket. But image was all.

“As for me, I was never given a release to sign or paid anything. It never dawned on me to ask.”

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19 Responses to “Shooting Bob Dylan album art on Jones Street”

  1. Nabe News: February 14 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    [...] the cover shot on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan [Ephemeral [...]

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  3. Alex Says:

    No wonder I could never place where exactly on 4th Street this shot was from. It was looking south from 4th Street on Jones St. Bob & Suzi block the view of Bleecker. The Slaughtered Lamb Pub helps me identify the location. Thanks for clearing up a long time mystery for me.

  4. the truth Says:

    copied from a photo of james dean.

    • DeeAnne Hunstein Says:

      Just because they are both walking down empty streets doesn’t mean that there was any influence by the Dean photos. Don probably never saw them. Don often had his subjects walk in the middle of streets when it was possible. Most of this photo shoot took place in Dylan’s apartment and after exhausting all the possibilities there, Don decided to go out on the street, just as dusk was falling, Many great photos with and without Suze came out of the first part of this shoot, and some can be found on Don’s web site, Don@donhunstein.com.

      • Noel Says:

        DeeAnne, I think you mean http://www.donhunstein.com. What you provided is an email address, not a web site address.

        In any case, the web site is broken. The thumbnail images on the front page all lead to empty pages with no photos. You need a new web developer.

  5. the truth Says:

    please see: http://www.jamesdean.com/about/photos/walking.html

  6. DeeAnne Hunstein Says:

    I saw those photos and I still say it was entirely coincidental that they are similar. Dean is solo and it is obviously warm and you don’t get any of the atmosphere of the Village from the locale that was chosen. Maybe Dylan was imitating Dean, but I doubt it. What they both say is that a young man is setting off down the road into an unknown future.

  7. Lisa Says:

    I’ve seen this photo hundreds of times, but until now I could never put my finger on Dylan’s demeanor in this shot. Now it all makes sense– he’s FREEZING, of course!

  8. DeeAnne Hunstein Says:

    Don Hunstein’s website is currently under reconstruction. It should be ready to view soon. It will contain many other Dylan photos from his early years.

  9. Simon Coconino Says:

    the out takes from the shoot help confirm the location

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/simon_coconino/4357349866/in/photostream/]

  10. Suze Rotolo Says:

    [...] [...]

  11. Alex Says:

    Sadly, today’s NY Times reports that Suze Rotolo has just passed away at age 67. Gone too soon.

  12. When rock album covers featured New York City « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] New York locations for the cover art on The Doors’ Strange Days and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan have gotten plenty of [...]

  13. 2ButtonSwag Says:

    I just had a post about this the other day. Such a great album. A family member found a MINT copy of the vinyl in a thrift shop for $3.00. I was extatic. The next day, before she dropped it off to me, she left it in her car on top of a box in the sun. It warped. Pretty crushed. Regardless, for the price, and the condition prior to the incident, it was an AMAZING find. It still plays, I just have to leave the cover up. Great article!

  14. Kelley and Phil : New York City Engagement Shoot | Kortnee Kate Photography Says:

    [...] Since Jones Street was right around the corner from where they live, we had to shoot a rendition of the classic Bob Dylan album cover shot in 1963. Check it out here. [...]

  15. | Kortnee Kate Photography Says:

    [...] Since Jones Street was right around the corner from where they live, we had to shoot a rendition of the classic Bob Dylan album cover shot in 1963. Check it out here. [...]

  16. History of NYC Streets: The Battle Between Jones & Great Jones Streets | Untapped Cities Says:

    […] Street was featured on the album cover of Bob Dylan’s […]

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