Song Of The Week - Bob Dylan - Hurricane
By 1975, Dylan was over a decade beyond his initial outburst as a protest singer. Indeed, his most recent album, Blood On The Tracks, was a devastating collection of songs of love and loss based around the recent collapse of his marriage.
Yet when the story of the boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was brought to his attention, he responded with one of his finest songs of the decade. Carter was imprisoned for a triple homicide in New Jersey in 1966. By the mid-70s his supporters were trying to get him released on the grounds the original arrest and trial had been racially motivated and lacking in evidence. When Dylan visited the former middleweight in Rahway State Prison In New Jersey he became convinced of the man’s innocence and set out to help the cause the only way he knew how.
The resulting 8-minute single plays like an unfolding movie recounting the events of that night and mercilessly naming names and taking numbers, resulting in at least one lawsuit against the singer. It remains one of his most powerful songs, and is said to have played a vital part in the eventual release of Carter in 1985.
In 1999, Norman Jewison turned Rubin Carter’s life into an acclaimed movie, The Hurricane, which, naturally, featured the Dylan song. Denzel Washington was Oscar nominated for his performance as Rubin Carter, who died this week, April 20th, at the age of 76.