One of Bob Dylan’s most iconic songs, ‘Hurricane’, has hardly been played by the mercurial songwriter since 1976. The track’s controversial subject matter has left it in the firing line for some years. Below we take a look back at Dylan’s TV debut of the song.
‘Hurricane’, as many will know, was written for Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, a boxer whose promising career was cut drastically short after he was convicted of killing two men and a woman at a bar in Paterson New Jersey, back in 1966.
Bob Dylan, ever a man of the people, felt that the boxer was wrongly convicted and was keen to highlight his demise. He decided to write a song for the boxer alongside Jacques Levy, nine years after his conviction in 1975 It would go down as one of Dylan’s most potent numbers.
Dylan had become increasingly interested in the former athlete after he read Hurricane’s autobiography. He decided to visit him in prison and after speaking at great length with one another, soon found himself convinced of Carter’s innocence. The track was riddled with historical inaccuracies but did showcase Carter’s story.
The song written by Dylan in honour of Carter would find it’s way onto Dylan’s album Desire but not before Columbia Records would force Dylan to change many of the names and references in the song, after advice from their lawyers suggested there were implications too serious to keep in for artistic merit.
The song would get its first outing on television on September 10th, 1975 when Dylan, accompanied by Scarlet Rivera on violin, Rob Stoner on bass, and Howie Wyeth, would come together to perform a trio of numbers for Chicago’s WTTW.
The first song out the gate would be ‘Hurricane’ and its powerful message would forever endear it to the hearts and minds of Bob Dylan’s fans. Below watch Bob Dylan debut ‘Hurricane’ in 1975.