Coverdown: Freewheelin' 236 / Freewheelin'-on-line take 38

freewheelin-on-line take 38 cover


If I had a watery eye for each time I started and discarded the final Freewheelin' cover then, as the song goes, the pool of tears beneath my feet would flood every new born seed. But sooner or later the crying had to stop and the creativity had to start. It wasn’t as if I was bereft of ideas; it was more a case of choosing the right one and as I didn’t seem capable of making that choice, I packed the whole thing away in a cupboard went on holiday to Italy! 

The main inspiration for this cover eventually came from a painting of The Last Supper by some unknown Florentine artist from the 16th Century. I saw it as we wandered around a cathedral in Urbino, Northern Italy, and immediately that skeleton in my cupboard at home came to life with the notion that The Last Supper could represent The Final Freewheelin': the bread and the wine being our words and our wit. 

Probably the most famous painting of The Last Supper is da Vinci’s but I considered that to be too damn brown so I plumped instead for Salvador Dalý’s The Sacrament of The Last Supper painted in 1955. You will note the trigger finger of Christ’s right hand is pointing straight at Dylan’s cup of coffee. His last one before he goes to the valley below. Or it may be pointing to the image on Dylan’s T-shirt of the machine that could have killed him, but didn’t. Or to those two guilty undertakers, dressed in black, who could at some time in the future open up the gate to saviors, or even Freewheelers, who are fast asleep. 

The background of the cover is taken from the painting ‘Composition with Red, Black, Blue and Yellow’ completed by the Dutch painter Piet Mondrian in about 1914. Mondrian used blocks of primary colour to represent emotions but he confined the same within bold black grid lines to emphasize the restraints of conduct by which we have to live. The whole displays a life in progress. 

The smile on the youthful Dylan with the unbuttoned cap suggests he has the innocence and the freedom to welcome whatever may come his way; unlike the glum expression of the dog behind him who is clearly not running free. And unlike the equally glum looking Dylan in the bottom right hand corner who has yellowed with age and experience. 

I couldn’t have a final Freewheelin' cover without a salute to William Blake as the Ancient Bard has been my constant cajoler throughout these last 20 years. So the image from Blake’s Glad Day is seen at the foot of the page, pushing those black grid lines of restraint further and further away, as he always will. 

Which leaves the most important image of all. The one of Dylan in the bottom left hand corner. And that is there because .... I just love the jacket!


Theo Casamegas