Hurricane (8:32)

Cover of Desire

From Desire and 68 other releases

Hurricane is a protest song by Bob Dylan co-written with Jacques Levy, about the imprisonment of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. It compiles alleged acts of racism and profiling against Carter, which Dylan describes as leading to a false trial and conviction.

Dylan’s Desire opens with “Hurricane”, arguably the most popular song on the 1976 release. Named after former middleweight contender Rubin Carter, Dylan had been inspired to write it after reading Carter’s autobiography, The Sixteenth Round, which Carter had sent him “because of his prior commitment to the civil rights struggle.”

Carter and a man named John Artis had been charged with a triple murder which occurred in the Lafayette Grill, Paterson, New Jersey in 1966. Widely reported as a racially motivated crime, Carter and Artis were found guilty of committing the murders, and both were sentenced to four consecutive life sentences. In the years that followed, a substantial amount of controversy emerged over the case, ranging from allegations of faulty evidence and questionable eyewitness testimony to an unfair trial. In his autobiography, Carter maintained his innocence, and his story eventually led Dylan to visit him in Rahway State Prison in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.

Dylan had written topical ballads before, including, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” and “The Death of Emmett Till”, but according to Jacques Levy, he wasn’t sure that he could write a song… “He was just filled with all these feelings about Hurricane. He couldn’t make the first step.


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Send ‘Hurricane’ Ringtone to Cell

Pistol shots ring out in the bar-room 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"

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • cheesetrolley

    Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter died today at age 76. RIP.

    4 hours ago Reply
  • daftrol

    'couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is a game.'

    22 Mar 7:02pm Reply
  • TheRealDBF

    Epic song is epic.

    16 Mar 2:17pm Reply
  • ManCalled7Sun

    One of the best song ever! *******

    12 Mar 11:30pm Reply
  • moendroelma

    Nur dass das halt nicht Bob Dylan ist

    9 Mar 12:35pm Reply
  • RomainDMusic

    Storytelling gold

    23 Jan 8:56pm Reply
  • gilliananne

    This was played in every bar in Amsterdam on our uni field trip 1976. Bliss!

    5 Jan 12:26pm Reply
  • badgernoir

    Dylan is such a fucking poet. God damn.

    26 Nov 2013 Reply
  • vinman07

    Strong hitting song! Southern cops couldnt knock out Carter! He could ve been the Champion of the World!!

    26 Aug 2013 Reply
  • pilgrimage145


    17 Jul 2013 Reply
  • davidbowiegirl

    First time I hear this, great song!

    8 Jul 2013 Reply
  • mklinsao

    Bobby D, you're perfect. Please marry me.

    29 May 2013 Reply
  • ButchGantenbein

    I think Rueban did 10 more years after this song. How on top things was Bob at that time. This song show's Dylan's genuis. Of course he won't think so.....

    21 May 2013 Reply
  • yxnarbo

    So unfair. Makes me angry.

    21 Apr 2013 Reply
  • RollingStonesDK

    One of the best songs ever written...

    27 Mar 2013 Reply
  • ralfsu

    How can the life of such a man be in the palm of some fool's hand?

    26 Mar 2013 Reply
  • nomoresongs

    I get what DarkSide and Stanley are saying, but this is more about the general experience of black people with the police at that specific time, it just uses a specific case to make a general point.

    20 Mar 2013 Reply
  • harvey1963july3


    14 Mar 2013 Reply
  • TheDarkSide73

    It's sad that Bob Dylan had to write a song about a guy who is abusive towards women..Even though it is a great song..

    11 Mar 2013 Reply
  • Jeroentje_NL

    'How can the life of such a man, be in the palm of some fool's hand'

    4 Mar 2013 Reply
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