The songs "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" and "Sara" specifically state just how much Bob Dylan adored this woman. Many of his other songs have been interpreted to include her as well.
Bob and Sara were married in a private ceremony on November 22, 1965. They had four children together, and Bob also adopted her daughter from a previous marriage.
The often turbulent marriage officially ended in divorce in 1977, but much of the 70's saw on again/off again separations, mostly related to Bob's alleged affairs with other women, namely long-time lover Joan Baez. Sara and Joan co-starred with Bob in the 1978 movie Renaldo and Clara, shedding a humorous light on the love triangle.
Note: a very thorough commentary on Renaldo and Clara can be found HERE.
Not much information can be found about Sara Dylan. Bob has always been one for keeping his personal life under wraps. Apparently Sara is not a publicity seeker either, since she made no attempts to go public after their divorce.
We do know some facts about Sara, including the fact that she was at one time a Playboy bunny. Her real name was Shirley Noznisky. She later changed it to Sara and took the last name of her first husband, photographer Hans Lowndes. Sara Lowndes became Sara Dylan after marrying Bob in 1965.
Although their divorce was rocky, it is said that Bob and Sara regularly kept in touch after their divorce. Undoubtedly, a common love for their children is what bound them together.
The two shots above, taken by Elliott Landy at the Dylans' Woodstock home, are some of the most beautiful pictures of Sara that are available to us. Here we can see a reflection of the "gypsy" image Dylan portrays when singing about her.
These other two pictures taken by Landy show the Dylans as devoted parents.
Despite the lack of information available on her, Sara will be forever immortalized as Bob's first wife, the mother of four of his children, and his artistic muse.
To me, Sara Dylan embodies the traditional feminine beauty that Dylan so frequently sings about in his songs. Some have interpreted his lyrics as misogynistic, but I don't think that's the case at all. He adores and worships women, yet in the classical sense. Looking at Sara allows us to understand how Bob views women in general-- he appreciates her beauty, grace, sensuality, and mysticism. He also revered her as his companion and the mother of his children, and portrays her as an almost goddess-like figure in "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands."
For further understanding of who Sara is and what she was to Bob, read the lyrics to the two songs written explicitly for her. The first was recorded in 1966 and shows her as a beautiful, unreachable woman that the singer has lusted after for quite some time. This gives us a glimpse into how Bob saw Sara when he first fell in love with her. The second song was written in the midst of their separation in the mid 1970's. It reflects on the time they spent together as husband and wife and as parents, pleading with her to come back to him. Both songs are extremely poetic, melodically beautiful, and perfect examples of the depth of feeling Bob is so wonderful at conveying.
Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
As his muse for so many years, Sara Dylan is definitely a key player in Dylan history and worthy of remembrance as the inspiration for some of his most incredible songs.
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