Hurricane by Bob Dylan Tanner Raubenstine

Life Biography

Bob Dylan was born May 24th, 1941. He is 75 years old and started making music in the 1960's and he was one of the most influential song writers of the 20th century. He helped people feel relieved about the war and violence going on and also the civil rights. Bob Dylan wrote this song Hurricane as tribute to Rubin Carter. Carter was a boxer that was blamed and put in jail for a triple murder that he never committed.

Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night.

Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall.

She sees a 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 somethin' that he never done.

Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a-been.

The champion of the world.

In this first part of the song, Bob Dylan is talking about a boxer that was put in prison for a murder that he never committed. The Hurricane described, is the big conflict with the conviction for the boxer. The champion of the world he could of been tells how prison ruined his chances of becoming a champ.

Three bodies lyin' there does Patty see

And another man named Bello, movin' around mysteriously

I didn't do it, he says, and he throws up his hands

I was only robbin' the register, I hope you understand

I saw them leavin', 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 flashin'

In the hot New Jersey night

In this next section, Bob Dylan is saying how there was 3 bodies that were found from the murder. Patty and Bello were the ones that described the getaway car that was the car of Carter, the boxer. That's how he got put into the case when he didn't do anything. Carter pleaded that he wasn't the one that did it when he was picked up by police. It describes how Patty and Bello were talking about calling in the car to the cops.

Meanwhile, far away in another part of town

Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are drivin' 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 want to draw the heat

In this section, Dylan is describing how Carter, a middleweight crown contender, is just driving around with his friends minding their own business then a cop pulls up on them and pulls them over. They get pulled over and get taken into custody and when he said "if you're back you might as well not show up on the street" he was meaning how you're going to get arrested to in trouble if you are in the streets. Unless you want to bring out a gun and start fighting that way.

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the cops

Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowlin' around

He said, I saw two men runnin' out, they looked like middleweights

They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates

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 that he could identify the guilty me

In this one, he is talking about how Bello and his friend had a rap for cops, so they wanted to always spill information when they had it. They were snitches and Patty just went along with whatever they were saying. Then a cop realizes one of the victims wasn't dead and he was taken to the infirmary where he was practically blind.

Four in the mornin' and they haul Rubin in

They took him to the hospital and they brought him upstairs

The wounded man looks up through his one dyin' eye

Says, wha'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 somethin' that he never done

Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been

The champion of the world

This section talks about how the victim comes to see, with his one eye, that Carter was not the guy that did the murderous crime. Talking about how the cops came to blame an innocent man that did nothing wrong. He was put in a prison cell when he could of became the champion of the world.

Four months later, the ghettos are in flame

Rubin's in South America, fightin' for his name

While Arthur Dexter Bradley's still in the robbery game

And the cops are puttin' the screws to him, lookin' for somebody to blame

Remember that murder that 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 runnin' that night

Don't forget that you are white

In this section it says how he is going 4 months later in time when Carter is fighting in South America to get his popularity back. While Arthur, is still out robbing places. The cops are still searching for the real murderer and everyone still remembers the murder at the bar.

Arthur Dexter Bradley said I'm really not sure

The cops said a poor boy like you could use a break

We got you for the motel job and we're talkin' to your friend Bello

You don't wanta have to go back to jail, be a nice fellow

You'll be doin' society a favor

That sonofabitch is brave and gettin' braver

We want to put his ass in stir

We want to pin this triple murder on him

He ain't no Gentleman Jim

Bello is friends with Arthur and the cops were trying to give him a break. Bob Dylan doesn't like how he was getting away with what he had done. The cops had got him into the motel that Bello had helped him get into. They wanted to pin the triple murder on Carter.

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

Rubin Carter had a good punch when he boxed but he never liked to talk about it because he did it all for the money. Whenever he would retire he would go to somewhere that is like paradise to him. But he never made it because he got put in Jail for getting blamed for the murder.

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 D.A. said he was the one who did the deed

And the all-white jury agreed

Dylan is talking about how the trial was pretty much a joke because Carter never had a chance in the case. The judge made the witness for Carter a homeless alcoholic person that was nearby during the murder. To white people Carter was a bum but to black people he was a crazy black person. No one doubted that he was the one that pulled the trigger even though the gun was never recovered. The all white jury agreed with him being the murderer.

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

Carter didn't deserve that unfair trial. Bello and Bradley both testified and both lied to the judge and jury. The newspapers went along with what was going on too and just followed the majority. Dylan felt ashamed to have been living in the land where someone can get wrongly tried like Carter was.

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

That's the story of the Hurricane

But it won't be over till 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

The real murders now are sitting back and doing what they want while Carter sits in jail in a 10 foot tall cell. Carter was an innocent man living in total hell for nothing he ever did. The whole story is a hurricane and it won't be done until his name is cleared and they give him back the time he served.

Carter spent 20 years in prison for a crime he never committed. When Bob Dylan heard about the story, he went and met with Rubin Carter and was able to hear the whole story. Which inspired him to write this song, Hurricane, to tell the whole story.


Created with images by badosa - "Bob Dylan" • cdrummbks - "dylan, bob- blonde on blonde" • Stoned59 - "Bob Dylan" • 4WardEver UK - "Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter" • ky_olsen - "Bob Dylan (Bring it All Back Home Sessions)" • cdrummbks - "dylan, bob- highway 61 revisited" • badosa - "Bob Dylan 008" • badosa - "Bob Dylan 003"

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