Mar 11, 2021: Sally Grossman, Widow of Dylan Manager Who Famously Posed on Album Cover, Dies

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Daniel Kramer’s photo for Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home album, with Sally Grossman

Sally Grossman, the widow of Albert Grossman, the artist manager for such music stars as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, and The Band, died March 11, 2021, at age 81, in Woodstock, NY. She survived her husband who died of a heart attack while flying on the Concorde 35 years earlier in 1986. Sally Grossman was found at her home by a neighbor who looked after her; the cause of her death was not revealed.

Sally Grossman famously posed with Dylan on the cover of his 1965 album, Bringing It All Back Home. The iconic photo, taken at the Grossmans’ Woodstock, N.Y., home, shows the then 25-year-old in a stunning red jumpsuit, while seated, smoking a cigarette with one knee bent, just so. Dylan, in the foreground, with the Grossmans’ cat on his lap, was just 23, though it was already his fifth album. The image is surrounded by a golden halo effect.

The Grossmans were fixtures in Bearsville, part of the town of Woodstock, a two-hour drive from New York City. The album cover photo was taken by Daniel Kramer. According to writer Bob Egan, the picture was “a radical change for Dylan meant to signify his break with the Greenwich Village folk movement.

“No longer was Dylan photographed in the scruffy clothes of folksingers, but here he was a full-blown hipster country squire, with an oil painting on the mantle, a Persian cat on his lap, and a cool, sophisticated woman lounging in the background.”

The often-imitated photo shows numerous props including various photos, books, a yellow fallout shelter sign, and the Jan. 1, 1965, issue of Time magazine featuring President Lyndon Johnson as Man of the Year, among them.

Sally Grossman, in an undated photo from her Facebook page

Unlike Dylan’s previous efforts that he had performed solo, Bringing It All Back Home, released March 22, 1965, had the singer-songwriter backed by a band. Side one, which features “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “Maggie’s Farm” and “Outlaw Blues” among its seven tracks, is performed electrically. Side two’s acoustic numbers include “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”

The album would go on to reach #6 on the U.S. album sales chart (and #1 U.K.).

Related: Dylan in ’65—Evolving to electric

Though it has since changed hands many times, the Bearsville recording studio compound, which Albert Grossman opened in 1969, also featured several other buildings. Sally Grossman assumed the directorship after her husband died. The former studio has long been the home of a radio station, WDST. It’s joined by the Bearsville Theater, a vibrant live performance hall, and several restaurants.

Watch Albert Grossman interviewed at his Bearsville compound

Sally Grossman, born August 22, 1939, continued to live in Bearsville until her death. Of her red outfit, she was quoted as saying, “I don’t think I’ve worn it again.”

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5 Comments so far

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  1. Rudolfo
    #1 Rudolfo 13 March, 2021, 14:59

    A golden halo effect?! No, the photo was taken to appear as if one was looking through a bullet hole in a glass window … that’s pretty obvious if you look carefully at the photo.
    It’s laughable that you wrote that nonsense about a golden halo, btw.

    Reply this comment
  2. Trude
    #2 Trude 14 March, 2021, 13:21

    It’s not a dress. If you look at other photos from the same session, your can see it’s a trouser suit. For anally retentive classic rock nerds stuff as myself, these details matter.

    Reply this comment
  3. Thomas
    #3 Thomas 14 March, 2021, 13:26

    It’s not a bullet hole. It’s an effect.
    Kramer said of the concept: “I wanted to feel like the universe was moving around him.”
    The complete story is fascinating.
    Check it out

    Reply this comment
  4. tom
    #4 tom 25 March, 2023, 19:08

    Did Grossman have a son by Carmen Paz?

    Reply this comment

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