"Hurricane" as written by and Mindy Smith....
Pistol shots ring out in the barroom 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 somethin' that he never done.
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

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.

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.

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 men.

Four in the mornin' and they haul Rubin in,
Take him to the hospital and they bring 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!"
Yes, 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.

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."

Arthur Dexter Bradley said, "I'm really not sure."
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
Now 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."

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 D.A. 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.
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.


Lyrics submitted by oofus

"Hurricane" as written by Mindy Smith

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Hurricane song meanings
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87 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentEven if Carter was guilty, which i am sceptical about, that website takes things far, far too litreally. Of course Dylan wouldn't know how things went down that night or what people said to eachother. He's telling his interpratation of the story of Rubin Carter.
    And even if Carter WAS guilty, he still wasn't given a fair trial.
    paulleonard666on July 11, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThird comment in a day. "It's a good song, even if it is complete bullshit."
    Uhm, people write songs about dragons, aliens, and all manner of shit and they're still amazing songs. He "played ball" with the facts, oh well. We can enjoy the song, or we can cry about it. I, personally, will enjoy the song.
    MagentaMSIon December 18, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe violin in this song is incredible.

    this song alone is incredible.. oy oy oy, bob dylan i adore you.
    digitalloveon July 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've read that web site mentioned by leif, and it treats the song as some kind of legal document, dylan iobviously wasnt trying to make a case that would hold up in court; he was writing a song about what he felt was right. He based it on what he knew/ was told by reuben, and the examples of racism in teh song are not meant to be specific, theyre just meant to show that racism was involved in this case. This song doesnt even have to be restricted to carter.
    bobdylaniscoolon January 01, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne of my favorite Dylan songs, and that's saying a lot.

    I've seen the website, and I'm more or less familiar witht he story behind the song, but I won't pretend to know whether or not Carter was innocent. Like people have said, there's evidance on both sides.

    But the thing is that, even if this specific incident is all bungled up in the facts, situation like it happen a lot. Today it might be a black guy convicted of theft even though he was nowhere near the crime scene. Tomorrow it might be a white guy executed for a murder he didn't commit. The justice system is far from perfect, and in essence, that's what this song is pointing out.
    Nick the Bastardon July 15, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn french, marron means brown.
    finechildon February 25, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOnly Dylan could tell a story in a song so effectively. Absolute genious, i was blown away.

    Oh dear.
    wilsorjgon April 10, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think we will ever be able to declare whether or not Rubin Carter was innocent, and that's because his trial was unfair. And that website was mostly saying 'NO WAY! He wasn't the best boxer! Therefore, he killed people!'
    missworld77on May 07, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentu fucking idiots. who gives a damn if he got a couple things wrong. it is a great song with great lyrics.
    mauman555on May 17, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Commentu fucking idiots. who gives a damn if he got a couple things wrong. it is a great song with great lyrics.
    mauman555on May 17, 2007   Link

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