February 1966, a woman named Sandra Suffolk, Lady Suffolk, called Jerry Schatzberg on her arrival in New York City. She told him the publisher of Queen magazine was requesting that Schatzberg photograph her for Queen. Though Schatzberg had done work for Queen, he didn’t know the publisher, but he told her to come to the studio so they could discuss it. When she arrived she said she’d just done an interview with Marlon Brando and was wondering if there was any way she could get an interview with Bob Dylan. Schatzberg put two and two together … he told her he couldn’t promise anything but that he would talk to Dylan. When he spoke to Dylan about the interview, Dylan said “OK” but that Schatzberg would have to come along. They both showed up at a great apartment in the Dakota, and Schatzberg took some photographs during the interview.
This is a total side track, but I became interested in the minutiae of the photographs. I wasn’t alive at the time this was taking place, and I like to try and find out what was happening, culturally and socially, so that I can better understand and get a feel for the atmosphere during those groundbreaking and game-changing years.
The magazine Dylan is holding is Life Magazine, February 4, 1966 – Sammy Davis, Harry Belafonte, and Sidney Poitier featured on the cover with the story ‘Greatest negro Stars Team Up’. An article about Harry Belafonte’s TV show ‘The Strollin’ Twenties’ can be read in full by scrolling through the magazine here:
As the magazine is a weekly one, if the issue was the latest one Dylan was holding, that would place the interview somewhere between February 4-11, 1966? This would make sense as these photos were taken in New York City. Dylan played the Westchester County Center, White Plains, New York on 5 February 1966, before heading off to Pittsburg, then on to Nashville for more Blonde on Blonde recording sessions, and Montreal after that… but back to New York at the end of the month, so it could have been then. A busy time.
The interview started with …
SS: Now that you’re making money, how much do you want to make?
BD: All of it.
SS: No, I mean one million, two million?
BD: No. All of it.
According to Schatzberg, the entire interview went that way. To our knowledge, no such interview was ever published in Queen or elsewhere. Perhaps Lady Suffolk or the magazine publisher realized the disaster they had on their hands; i.e., another Dylan nonsense interview. [Actually, I think he was making pretty good sense!] But even Dylan interviews of the total nonsense kind were good for selling plenty of magazines in those days. Perhaps Ms Suffolk didn’t wish to be portrayed as the jester’s straight person? Or just maybe the Lady had gotten what she came for in the first place and was content to leave it with meeting and spending time with someone on a whole other level.
I am not sure whether this has been mentioned in any of the three active links we have here in the Café about Sandra Suffolk, a.k.a. Lady Suffolk a.k.a. Sandra Paul a.k.a Sandra Howard, Lady Howard of Lympne…
But Jerry Schatzberg went a little further in his critical memories of the ‘Lady’, which he spoke of during an interview for FAQ magazine back in 2013.
Schatzberg was talking about building trust with the celebrities he photographs, and the subject came up, about Bob Dylan and how wary he is of the press.
This was Jerry’s response:
JS: …His [Bob Dylan’s] wife was also one of the people who told me about him years ago; I knew her before. So I came to him with a certain trust, which was important because he has always been very suspicious of the press, and rightly so. I understand him, because I have had my own experience with that.
Q: Has there been a certain incident?
JS: I once had a woman from the UK who wanted to interview him and she came to me on the mere pretence that the editor of Queen magazine wanted me to photograph her. And I did it, and while I was taking the pictures, we talked about her. She told me that she had just done an interview with Marlon Brando and so on, and then she said, ‘You know Bob Dylan, right? Can you get me an interview with him?’ I said, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ But then I told him the whole story, and I said, ‘It’s up to you, do you want to do the interview?’ He said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it, but you’ve got to come along.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll come along.’ So we went to Dakota to do the interview and the first question was, ‘Well, now that you’re famous, how much money do you want to make?’ And he said, ‘All of it.’ And the whole interview went like that. She asked him, ‘Do you believe in nature?’ And Bob would say, ‘No, I don’t believe in any drugs.’ I would love to find that interview; maybe it still exists somewhere, maybe it was never even published. In the end, it turned out she was a real con artist. Her father was a munitions man and he would follow her all over the world to pay off her debts. She was also living in a friend’s apartment at that time, but she didn’t have any money, so she sold the paintings from that apartment. She was a real number.
Bob Dylan appeared in Vogue in May 1963. The photographer was Peter Rand, working in Vogue’s London studio. Peter Rand also did this cover photograph.
“The model, who will later become Mrs Sandra Howard (wife of Conservative politician Michael Howard), fronts an issue that heralds the beginning of the permissive and classless Sixties for Vogue. The typography and off-kilter cover line will become a staple for the era’s graphic artists.”
Bob Dylan was interviewed by Polly Devlin for Vogue magazine in London on 20 May 1964 but the interview was never published.
Sandra Paul June 1963