Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bob Dylan: 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature





“The singer and songwriter Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday for ‘having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition,’ in the words of the Swedish Academy.

“He is the first American to win since the novelist Toni Morrison, in 1993. The announcement, in Stockholm, came as something of a surprise. Although Mr. Dylan, 75, has been mentioned often as having an outside shot at the prize, his work does not fit into the literary canons of novels, poetry and short stories that the prize has traditionally recognized.

“‘Mr. Dylan’s work remains utterly lacking in conventionality, moral sleight of hand, pop pabulum or sops to his audience,’ the former Rolling Stones bass player Bill Wyman wrote in a 2013 Op-Ed essay in The New York Times arguing for Mr. Dylan to get the award. ‘His lyricism is exquisite; his concerns and subjects are demonstrably timeless; and few poets of any era have seen their work bear more influence.’

“Mr. Dylan was born on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minn., and grew up in Hibbing. He played in bands as a teenager, influenced by the folk musician Woody Guthrie, the authors of the Beat Generation and modernist poets. He moved to New York in 1961 and began to perform in clubs and cafes in Greenwich Village. The following year, he signed a contract with the record producer John Hammond for his debut album, ‘Bob Dylan’ (1962). His many other albums, which the Swedish Academy described as having ‘a tremendous impact on popular music,’ include [‘The Freewheelin’ (1963)], ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ and ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ (1965), ‘Blonde On Blonde’ (1966) and ‘Blood on the Tracks’ (1975), [‘Desire’ (1976)], ‘Oh Mercy’ (1989), ‘Time Out Of Mind’ (1997), [‘Love and Theft’ (2001)],  and ‘Modern Times’ (2006).

“‘Dylan has recorded a large number of albums revolving around topics like the social conditions of man, religion, politics and love,’ the Swedish Academy said in a biographical note accompanying the announcement. ‘The lyrics have continuously been published in new editions, under the title ‘Lyrics.’ As an artist, he is strikingly versatile; he has been active as painter, actor and scriptwriter.’

“The academy added: ‘Since the late 1980s, Bob Dylan has toured persistently, an undertaking called the ‘Never-Ending Tour.’ Dylan has the status of an icon. His influence on contemporary music is profound, and he is the object of a steady stream of secondary literature.’

Mr. Dylan, whose original name is Robert Allen Zimmerman… The Nobel, one of the world’s most prestigious and financially generous awards, comes with a prize of 8 million Swedish kronor, or just over $900,000. The literature prize is given for a lifetime of writing rather than for a single work… Previous Nobel laureates in literature have included giants like Rudyard Kipling, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Gabriel García Márquez…”

Bob Dylan Awarded Nobel Prize in Literature



Masters of War by Bob Dylan (1963)

Damn you masters of war – you that build the big guns
You that build the death planes; you that build all the bombs
You that hide behind walls; you that hide behind desks
I just want you to know I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin’, but build to destroy
You play with my world, like it’s your little toy
You put a gun in my hand, and you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther when the fast bullets fly

Like Judas of old, you lie and deceive
A world war can be won; you want me to believe
But I see through your eyes, and I see through your brain
Like I see through the water that runs down my drain

You fasten all the triggers, for the others to fire
Then you sit back and watch, while the death count gets higher
You hide in your mansion, while the young people’s blood
Flows out of their bodies and is buried in the mud

You’ve thrown the worst fear that can ever be hurled
Afraid to bring children, into the world
For threatenin’ my baby, unborn and unnamed,
You ain’t worth the blood that runs in your veins

How much do I know, to talk out of turn
You might say that I’m young; you might say I’m unlearned
But there’s one thing I know, though I’m younger than you
Even Jesus would never forgive what you do

Let me ask you one question: is your money that good
Will it buy you forgiveness; do you think that it could
I think you will find, when your death takes its toll
All the money you made will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die, and your death will come soon
I’ll follow your casket, on a pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered, down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave ‘til I’m sure that you’re dead


The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan (1964)

Come gather ‘round people, where ever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
Accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics who prophesy with their pens
And keep your eyes wide; the chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon, for the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
And the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators and congressmen please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorways; don’t block up the hall
For he who gets hurt will be he who has stalled
There’s a battle outside and it’s ragin’
It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers throughout the land
Don’t criticize what you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

The line is drawn; the curse it is cast
The slow one now will later be fast
As the present now will later be past
Your order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’
 

 

14 comments:

  1. "...[T]aken as a whole body of his work, this recognizes American folk and rock traditions as high art."

    Scott Eggerding

    ReplyDelete
  2. I always thought that back in the day he deserved the Nobel Peace Prize. Literature will do, however.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It’s All Right, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) by Bob Dylan (1965)

    Darkness at the break of noon
    Shadows even the silver spoon
    The handmade blade, the child’s balloon
    Eclipses both the sun and moon
    To understand you know too soon
    There is no sense in trying

    As pointed threats, they bluff with scorn
    Suicide remarks are torn
    From the fool’s gold mouthpiece the hollow horn
    Plays wasted words, proves to warn
    That he not busy being born is busy dying

    Temptation’s page flies out the door
    You follow find yourself at war
    Watch waterfalls of pity roar
    You feel to moan but unlike before
    You discover that you’d just be one more
    Person crying

    So don’t fear, if you hear
    A foreign sound to your ear
    It’s all right, Ma, I’m only sighing

    As some warn victory, some downfall
    Private reasons great or small
    Can be seen in the eyes of those that call
    To make all that should be killed to crawl
    While others say don’t hate nothing at all
    Except hatred

    Disillusioned words like bullets bark
    As human gods aim for their mark
    Make everything from toy guns that spark
    To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
    It’s easy to see without looking too far
    That not much is really sacred

    While preachers preach of evil fates
    Teachers teach that knowledge waits
    Can lead to hundred-dollar plates
    Goodness hides behind its gates
    But even the president of the United States
    Sometimes must have to stand naked

    And though the rules of the road have been lodged
    It’s only people’s games, that you got to dodge
    And it’s all right, Ma, I can make it

    Advertising signs they con
    You into thinking you’re the one
    That can do what’s never been done
    That can win what’s never been won
    Meantime life outside goes on
    All around you

    You lose yourself, you reappear
    You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
    Alone you stand with nobody near
    When a trembling distant voice unclears
    Startles your sleeping ears to hear
    That somebody thinks they really found you

    A question in your eyes is lit
    Yet you know there is no answer fit
    To satisfy, insure you not to quit
    To keep it in your mind and not forget
    That it is not he or she or them or it
    That you belong to

    Although the masters, make the rules
    For the wise men, and the fools
    I got nothing, Ma, to live up to

    For them that must bow down to authority
    That they do not respect in any degree
    Who despise their jobs, their destinies
    Speak jealously of them that are free
    Cultivate what to do to be
    Nothing more than something they invest in

    While some on principles baptized
    To strict party platform ties
    Social clubs in drag disguise
    Outsiders they can freely criticize
    Tell nothing except who to idolize
    And say God bless him

    While one who sings with his tongue on fire
    Gargles in the rat race choir
    Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
    Cares not to come up any higher
    But rather get you down in the hole
    That he’s in

    But I mean no harm, nor put fault
    On anyone living in a vault
    But it’s all right, Ma, if I can’t please him

    Old lady judges watch people in pairs
    Limited in sex they dare
    To tell fake morals, insult and stare
    While money doesn’t talk, it swears
    Obscenity who really cares
    Propaganda all is phony

    While them that defend what they cannot see
    With killer’s pride, security
    It blows the minds most bitterly
    For them that think death’s honesty
    Won’t fall upon them naturally
    Life sometimes must get lonely

    My eyes collide head-on with stuffed
    Graveyards, false gods, I scuff
    At pettiness which plays so rough
    Walk upside-down inside handcuffs
    Kick my legs to crash it off
    Say all right, I have had enough, what else can you show me

    And if my thought-dreams, could be seen
    They’d probably put my head, in a guillotine
    But it’s all right, Ma, it’s life and life only

    ReplyDelete
  4. Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan (1965)

    Johnny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine
    I’m on the pavement, thinking about the government
    The man in the trench coat, badge out, laid off
    Says he’s got a bad cough wants to get it paid off
    Look out kid, it’s somethin’ you did
    God knows when but you’re doin’ it again
    You better duck down the alley way
    Lookin’ for a new friend, the man in the coon-skin cap
    By the big pen wants eleven dollar bills you only got ten

    Maggie comes fleet foot face full of black soot
    Talkin’ that the heat put plants in the bed but
    The phone’s tapped anyway, maggie says that many say
    They must bust in early May, orders from the D.A.
    Look out kid don’t matter what you did
    Walk on your tiptoes don’t try “No-Doz”
    Better stay away from those that carry around a fire hose
    Keep a clean nose, watch the plain clothes
    You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    Ah, get sick, get well hang, around an ink well
    Ring bell, hard to tell if anything is goin’ to sell
    Try hard, get barred, get back, write braille
    Get jailed, jump bail, join the army if you fail
    Look out kid you’re gonna get hit
    By users, cheaters six-time losers
    Hang around the theaters, girl by the whirlpool
    Lookin’ for a new fool
    Don’t follow leaders, watch the parkin’ meters

    Ah, get born, keep warm
    Short pants, romance, learn to dance
    Get dressed, get blessed, try to be a success
    Please her, please him, buy gifts
    Don’t steal, don’t lift
    Twenty years of schoolin’ and they put you on the day shift
    Look out kid, they keep it all hid
    Better jump down a manhole, light yourself a candle
    Don’t wear sandals, try to avoid the scandals
    Don’t wanna be a bum you better chew gum
    The pump don’t work’ cause the vandals took the handles.

    ReplyDelete
  5. My Back Pages by Bob Dylan (1964)

    Crimson flames tied through my ears
    Rollin’ high and mighty traps
    Pounced with fire on flaming roads
    Using ideas as my maps
    “We’ll meet on edges, soon,” said I
    Proud ’neath heated brow
    Ah, but I was so much older then
    I’m younger than that now

    Half-wracked prejudice leaped forth
    “Rip down all hate,” I screamed
    Lies that life is black and white
    Spoke from my skull, I dreamed
    Romantic facts of musketeers
    Foundation deep, somehow
    Ah, but I was so much older then
    I’m younger than that now

    Girls’ faces formed the forward path
    From phony jealousy
    To memorizing politics
    Of ancient history
    Flung down by corpse evangelists
    Un-thought of, though, somehow
    Ah, but I was so much older then
    I’m younger than that now

    A self-ordained professor’s tongue
    Too serious to fool
    Spouted out that liberty
    Is just equality in school
    “Equality,” I spoke the word
    As if a wedding vow
    Ah, but I was so much older then
    I’m younger than that now

    In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
    At the mongrel dogs who teach
    Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
    In the instant that I preach
    My pathway led by confusion boats
    Mutiny from stern to bow
    Ah, but I was so much older then
    I’m younger than that now

    Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats
    Too noble to neglect
    Deceived me into thinking
    I had something to protect
    Good and bad, I define these terms
    Quite clear, no doubt, somehow
    Ah, but I was so much older then
    I’m younger than that now.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall by Bob Dylan (1963)

    Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
    Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
    I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve, misty mountains
    I’ve walked and I crawled on six crooked highways
    I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
    I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
    I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard

    (Refrain):
    And it’s hard, and it’s hard, and it’s hard, and it’s hard
    It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

    Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
    And what did you see, my darlin’ young one?
    I saw a newborn babe with wild wolves all around it
    I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
    I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
    I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
    I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children

    (Refrain)

    And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
    And what did you hear, my darling young one?
    I heard the sound of a thunder; it roared out a warnin’
    I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
    I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a blazin’
    I heard ten thousand whisperin’ and nobody listenin’
    I heard one person starve; I heard many people laughin’
    I heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
    I heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley

    (Refrain)

    And who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
    And who did you meet, my darling young one?
    I met a young child beside a dead pony
    I met a white man who walked a black dog
    I met a young woman whose body was burning
    I met a young girl; she gave me a rainbow
    I met one man who was wounded in love
    I met another man who was wounded in hatred

    (Refrain)

    And what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
    And what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
    I’m goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a fallin’
    Where I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
    Where the people are many, and their hands are all empty
    Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
    Where the home in the valley meets the damp, dirty prison
    Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden
    Where hunger is ugly; where souls are forgotten
    Where black is the color, and none is the number
    And I’ll tell it and speak it and think it and breathe it
    And reflect from the mountains so all souls can see it
    And I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
    But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’

    (Refrain)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right by Bob Dylan (1963)

    It ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
    It don’t matter anyhow
    Ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
    If you don’t know by now
    When the rooster crows at the break of dawn
    Look out your window, and I’ll be gone
    You’re the reason I’m traveling on
    Don’t think twice, it’s all right

    It ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, babe
    That light I never knew
    Ain’t no use in turnin’ on your light, babe
    I’m on the dark side of the road
    Still I wish there was something you would do or say
    To try to make me change my mind instead
    We never did too much talkin’ anyway
    Don’t think twice, it’s all right

    I’m walkin’ down that long, lonesome road, babe
    Where I’m bound I can’t tell
    But goodbye’s too good a word, gal
    So I’ll just say, “Fare-thee-well”
    I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
    You could have done better, but I don’t mind
    You just kind of wasted my precious time
    Don’t think twice, it’s all right

    It ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, gal
    Like you never did before
    It ain’t no use in callin’ out my name, gal
    I can’t hear you anymore
    I’m thinkin’ and wondering, all down the road
    I once loved a woman, a child I am told
    I gave her my heart, but she wanted my soul
    But don’t think twice, it’s all right

    ReplyDelete
  8. Blowin’ in the Wind by Bob Dylan (1963)

    How many roads must a man walk down
    Before they call him a man
    How many seas must a white dove sail
    Before she sleeps in the sand
    How many times must the cannon balls fly
    Before they’re forever banned

    (Refrain):
    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
    The answer is blowin’ in the wind

    How many years can a mountain exist
    Before it is washed to the sea
    How many years can some people exist
    Before they’re allowed to be free
    How many times can a man turn his head
    Pretending that he just doesn’t see

    (Refrain)

    How many times must a man look up
    Before he can see the sky
    How many ears must one man have
    Before he can hear people cry
    How many deaths will it take ‘til he knows
    That too many people have died

    (Refrain)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Simple Twist of Fate by Bob Dylan (1974)

    They sat together in the park
    As the evening sky grew dark
    She looked at him and he felt a spark, tingle to his bones
    ’Twas then he felt alone, and wished that he’d gone straight
    And watched out for a simple twist of fate

    They walked along by the old canal
    A little confused, I remember well
    And stopped into a strange hotel with a neon burnin’ bright
    He felt the heat of the night that hit him like a freight train
    Movin’ with a simple twist of fate

    A saxophone someplace far off played
    As she was walkin’ by the arcade
    As the light bust through a beat-up shade, where he was wakin’ up,
    She dropped a coin into the cup, of a blind man at the gate
    And forgot about a simple twist of fate

    He woke up, the room was bare
    He couldn’t see her anywhere
    He told himself he didn’t care, pushed the window open wide
    Felt an emptiness inside, to which he just could not relate
    Brought on by a simple twist of fate

    He hears the ticking of the clocks
    And walks along with a parrot that talks
    Hunts her down by the waterfront docks where the sailors all come in
    Maybe she’ll pick him out again, how long must he wait
    Once more for a simple twist of fate

    People tell me it’s a sin
    To know and feel too much within
    I still believe she was my twin, but I lost the ring
    She was born in spring, oh, but I was born too late
    Blame it on a simple twist of fate

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tangled Up in Blue by Bob Dylan (1974)

    Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’
    she was lyin’ in bed
    Wond’rin’ if she’d changed at all
    If her hair was still red
    Her folks said their lives together
    Sure was gonna be rough
    They never did like Mama’s homemade dress
    Papa’s bank book wasn’t big enough
    He was standin’ on the side of the road
    The rain fallin’ on his shoes
    Headin’ out for the East Coast
    Lord knows he paid some dues gettin’ through
    Tangled up in blue

    She was married when they first met
    Soon to be divorced
    He helped her out of a jam, I guess
    But he used a little too much force
    And drove that car as far as they could
    Abandoned it out West
    Splitting up on a dark sad night
    Both agreeing it was best
    She turned around to look at him
    As he was walkin’ away
    Saying over her shoulder
    “We’ll meet again someday on the avenue”
    Tangled up in blue

    He had a job in Santa Fe
    Working in an old hotel
    But he never did like it all that much
    And one day it just went to hell
    So he drifted down to New Orleans
    Lucky enough to be destroyed
    Where he got him a job on a fishing boat
    Right outside of Delacroix
    But all the while he was alone
    The past was close behind
    He seen a lot of women
    But she never escaped his mind, and he just grew
    Tangled up in blue

    She was workin’ in a topless place
    And I stopped in for a beer
    I just kept lookin’ at the side of her face
    In the spotlight so clear
    And later on when the crowd thinned out
    I was just about to do the same
    She was standing there right beside myself
    Said, “Don’t tell me, let me guess your name?”
    I muttered somethin’ underneath my breath
    She studied the lines on my face
    Must admit I felt a little uneasy
    When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe
    Tangled up in blue

    She lit a burner on the stove
    And offered me a pipe
    “I thought you’d never say hello,” she said
    “You look like the silent type”
    Then she opened up a book of poems
    And handed it to me
    Written by an Italian poet
    From the thirteenth century
    And every one of them words rang true
    And glowed like burnin’ coal
    Pourin’ off of every page
    Like it was written in my soul from me to you
    Tangled up in blue

    I lived with them on Montague Street
    In a basement down the stairs
    There was music in the cafés at night
    And revolution in the air
    Then he started into dealing with slaves
    And something inside of him died
    She had to sell everything she owned
    And froze up inside
    And when it all came crashing down
    I became withdrawn
    The only thing I knew how to do
    Was to keep on keepin’ on like a bird that flew
    Tangled up in blue

    So now I’m goin’ on back again
    I got to get to them somehow
    All the faces we used to know
    They’re an illusion to me now
    Some are mathematicians
    Some are truck drivers’ wives
    Don’t know how it all got started
    I don’t know what they’re doin’ with their lives
    But me I’m still on the road
    Headin’ for another joint
    We always did feel the same
    We just saw it from a different point of view
    Tangled up in blue

    ReplyDelete
  11. Isis by Bob Dylan & Jacques Levy (1975)

    I married Isis on the fifth day of May
    But I could not hold on to her very long
    So I cut off my hair, and I rode straight away
    For the wild unknown country where I could not go wrong

    I came to a high place of darkness and light
    The dividing line ran through the center of town
    I hitched up my pony to a post on the right
    Went in to a laundry to wash my clothes down

    A man in the corner approached me for a match
    I knew right away he was not ordinary
    He said, “Are you lookin’ for somethin’ easy to catch?”
    I said, “I got no money.” He said, “That ain’t necessary”

    We set out that night for the cold in the North
    I gave him my blanket, and he gave me his word
    I said, “Where are we goin’?” He said we’d be back by the fourth
    I said, “That’s the best news that I’ve ever heard”

    I was thinkin’ about turquoise; I was thinkin’ about gold
    I was thinkin’ about diamonds and the world’s biggest necklace
    As we rode through the canyons through the devilish cold
    I was thinkin’ about Isis, how she thought I was so reckless

    How she told me that one day we would meet up again
    And things would be different the next time we wed
    If I only could hang on and just be her friend
    I still can’t remember all the best things she said

    We came to the pyramids all embedded in ice
    He said, “There’s a body I’m tryin’ to find
    If I carry it out it’ll bring a good price”
    ’Twas then that I knew what he had on his mind

    The wind it was howlin’, and the snow was outrageous
    We chopped through the night, and we chopped through the dawn
    When he died I was hopin’ that it wasn’t contagious
    But I made up my mind that I had to go on

    I broke into the tomb, but the casket was empty
    There was no jewels, no nothin’, I felt I’d been had
    When I saw that my partner was just bein’ friendly
    When I took up his offer I must have been mad

    I picked up his body and I dragged him inside
    Threw him down in the hole, and I put back the cover
    I said a quick prayer, and I felt satisfied
    Then I rode back to find Isis just to tell her I love her

    She was there in the meadow where the creek used to rise
    Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed
    I came in from the East with the sun in my eyes
    I cursed her one time, then I rode on ahead

    She said, “Where ya been?” I said, “No place special”
    She said, “You look different.” I said, “Well, I guess”
    She said, “You been gone.” I said, “That’s only natural”
    She said, “You gonna stay?” I said, “If you want me too, yes”

    Isis, oh, Isis, you mystical child
    What drives me to you is what drives me insane
    I still can remember the way that you smiled
    On the fifth day of May in the drizzlin’ rain

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hurricane by Bob Dylan (1975)

    Pistols 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 something that he never done
    Put him in a prison cell, but one time he could’ve been
    The champion of the world.

    Three 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 kind of shit was about to go down
    When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
    Just like the time before and time before that
    In Patterson 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"
    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 morning and they haul Rubin in
    They take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs
    The wounded man looks up through his one dying eye
    Says, "Wha'd you bring him in here for ? He ain't the guy!"
    Yes, here comes 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’ve been
    The champion of the world.

    Four months later, the ghettos are inflamed
    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 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’ve been that fighter you saw running that night?"
    "Don't forget that you are white."

    Arthur Dexter Bradley said, "I'm really not sure"
    Cops 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 want to have to go back to jail be a nice fellow
    You'll be doing society a favor
    That sonofabitch 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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  13. Hurricane cont.

    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 tried 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
    And 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 him in a prison cell, but one time he could’ve been
    The champion of the world.


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