Title: Hurricane

Artist: Bob Dylan

Release Date: “Hurricane” was released in 1976 as part of Bob Dylan’s album “Desire.”

Genre: Folk Rock

Songwriters: Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy

Background:

  • “Hurricane” is a protest song by Bob Dylan that tells the story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a middleweight boxer who was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1966. The song aims to draw attention to Carter’s case and the injustices he faced.

Chart Performance:

  • The song did not achieve as much commercial success as some of Dylan’s earlier hits, but it received critical acclaim and remains a significant and powerful work.

Legacy:

  • “Hurricane” is often cited as one of Bob Dylan’s most political and socially conscious songs. It contributed to the public awareness and discussion surrounding Rubin Carter’s case and the issue of racial injustice.

Usage in Pop Culture:

  • The song has been used in various films and documentaries related to Rubin Carter’s life and legal battles.

Musical Style:

  • “Hurricane” features Dylan’s distinctive folk rock style, with vivid storytelling lyrics and a driving, upbeat tempo.

Lyrics:

  • The song’s lyrics passionately argue for Carter’s innocence and criticize the legal system for its handling of the case. The chorus features the lines “Here comes the story of the Hurricane / The man the authorities came to blame / For somethin’ that he never done.”

Impact:

  • “Hurricane” is a powerful example of Bob Dylan using his music as a platform for social and political commentary. It contributed to raising awareness about the injustices faced by Rubin Carter and brought attention to issues of racial bias in the legal system.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter:

  • Rubin Carter was a prominent middleweight boxer who was wrongly convicted of a triple murder in 1966. His case became a symbol of racial injustice and garnered significant attention from civil rights activists and celebrities, including Bob Dylan.

Awards:

  • While the song itself didn’t receive major awards, it is often recognized for its impact and significance in addressing social justice issues.
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Overall, “Hurricane” by Bob Dylan is a song that stands as a testament to the power of music as a tool for social and political commentary. It continues to be admired for its role in drawing attention to a wrongful conviction and the broader issue of racial injustice.

Video

Lyrics

“Hurricane”

Pistols shots ring out in the bar room night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out, “My God, they killed them all!”Here comes the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put him in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the worldThree bodies lying there does Patty see
And another man named Bello moving around mysteriously
“I didn’t do it”, he says and he throws up his hands
“I was only robbing the register. I hope you understand

“I saw them leaving,” he says and he stops
“One of us had better call up the cops.”
And so Patty calls the cops
And they arrive on the scene
With their red lights flashing
In the hot New Jersey night

Meanwhile far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are driving around
Number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down

When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that
In Paterson that’s just the way things go
If you’re black you might as well not show up on the street
‘Less you wanna draw the heat

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the cops
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowling around
He said, “I saw two men running out. They looked like middleweights
They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates.”

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And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head
Cop said, “Wait a minute, boys, this one’s not dead.”
So they took him to the infirmary
And though this man could hardly see
They told him he could identify the guilty men

Four in the morning and they haul Rubin in
They took him to the hospital and they brought him upstairs
The wounded man looks up through his one dying eye
Says, “Why’d you bring him in here for? He ain’t the guy!”

Here’s the story of the Hurricane
The man the authorities came to blame
For something that he never done
Put in a prison cell but one time he could-a been the champion of the world

Four months later the ghettos are in flame
Rubin’s in South America fighting for his name
While Arthur Dexter Bradley’s still in the robbery game
And the cops are putting the screws to him looking for somebody to blame

“Remember that murder that you happened in a bar?
Remember you said you saw the getaway car?
You think you’d like to play ball with the law?
Think it might-a been that fighter that you saw running that night?
Don’t forget that you are white”

Arthur Dexter Bradley said, “I’m really not sure.”
The cop said, “A boy like you could use a break
We got you for the motel job and we’re talking to your friend Bello
Now you don’t wanna have to go back to jail, be a nice fellow

You’ll be doing society a favor
That son of a bitch is brave and getting braver
We want to put his ass in stir
We want to pin this triple murder on him
He ain’t no Gentleman Jim.”

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Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
“It’s my work,” he’d say, “and I do it for pay
And when it’s over I’d just as soon go on my way

Up to some paradise
Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice
And ride a horse along a trail.”
But then they took him to the jailhouse
Where they try to turn a man into a mouse

All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus. He never had a chance
The judge made Rubin’s witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum

And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger
And though they could not produce the gun
The DA said he was the one who did the deed
And the all-white jury agreed

Rubin Carter was falsely tried
The crime was murder ‘one’. Guess who testified?
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers—they all went along for the ride

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool’s hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed
To live in a land
Where justice is a game

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell

Yes, that’s the story of the Hurricane
But it won’t be over ’til they clear his name
And give him back the time he’s done
Put in a prison cell but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world

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