Meet Springsteen’s Rosalita, Diane Lozito
Diane was “Wild Billy’s” girlfriend. It was 1971, the summer of Lozito’s high school graduation, and he took her to a little club in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Great band. Billy was very outgoing, knew the guitar player, a guy named Bruce. Apparently Lozito made an impression. Springsteen, 21, asked a friend “Who is that girl?” “Aw that’s crazy Diane.” She kept running into Springsteen throughout the summer. “Billy and his friends were major party boys,” Lozito recalls. “But Bruce didn’t drink or get high. One night at the beach, when Billy and the others were drinking, Bruce and I tucked around a rock and started kissing. [If this sounds familiar, throw on Springsteen’s “Spirit in the Night.”] Then I said, ‘It’s time to go” – because I was so scared of getting busted by Billy. That was a nice night. Light coming off the ocean, nothing like it.” Springsteen carried a notebook and was always jotting things down. “The next day he showed me the line ‘She kissed me just right/Like only a lonely angel can.’”
Soon Billy was out of the picture, Lozito and Springsteen talked about moving in together, and she took him to meet her mother. “Bruce charmed her to death,” Lozito says. “When we left the house, he said, ‘Oh, she loved me. She’s gonna say yes!’” The next day he dropped by. “Did she say we could move in?” Springsteen asked. “Well, no,” Lozito replied. “Why?” “Because my father was a musician, and you’re a musician.” Her parents’ divorce hadn’t gone well. Lozito watched as Springsteen wrote in his book: “I know your mama, she don’t like me ‘Cause I play in a rock and roll band’
"OK, your dad,” Springsteen said, “he’s a musician. He’s gotta love me. Ask him.” But Lozito’s father told her, “All musicians are bums.”
A year later, Springsteen and Lozito moved in together anyway, and he wrote the classics that turned up on his first three albums – “Spirit in the Night,” “Backstreets,” “Wild Billy’s Circus Story,” “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)” – along with performance legends that weren’t released for years. “I’d ask, ‘Why isn’t my name in those songs?” Lozito says. “He’d tell me, 'It’s boring having a whole album about the same girl. And nothing rhymes with Diane.’”
Eventually Springsteen met the rest of Lozito’s family, including her grandmother, Rose Lozito. In that part of Jersey, it’s pronounced Lazita. Rose Lazita. Ah. “He wrote 'Rosalita’ in bits and pieces and didn’t have a title for it,” she says. “My mom is Rita Lozito. Then he met my grandma. So I assume that’s where he put it together.”
As her boyfriend’s celebrity grew, Lozito found life more complex. She told him, “I’m sorry, I’m so tired of being introduced as 'Bruce’s girlfriend.’” She was working as a photographer’s assistant and attending college. Springsteen wanted her to go on the road with him. “I didn’t want to be in the shadow of this person and never have my own life,” she says. “I wanted to be the best at my profession, and I couldn’t be.” In early 1975, while Springsteen was finishing the excruciatingly long project that would ultimately be Born to Run, she packed up and left.
Lozito, now 55, doesn’t regret the decision. She went on to become an award-winning art director at several ad agencies, then an accomplished location scout for film, television and print. She married another art director, David Jenkins; a partnership of equals, they now live on a sprawling, sage-filled ranch out West.
More than 20 years ago she visited Springsteen at his hotel after a concert. He saw her and opened his arms. As they embraced, Lozito whispered, “That man behind me is my husband.” “Bruce went 'Eeewww!’” she says with a laugh. There were more hugs and kisses from band members she hadn’t seen in years. One of the new musicians – “new to me,” Lozito says – asked, “Why are you guys hugging her? Who is she?” Then someone – she can’t remember who – informed him. “You know who that is? That’s Rosalita!”