Dylan's Song "Hurricane"
Murders the Truth
good is bad, what's bad is good
lyrics are all over the Internet, but only here do you get the
other side of the story.
record is inaccurate and untrue. I wonder what Bob Dylan would
write if he had been at the bar that night."
Al Bello (left) to Cal Deal, 1976. Bello is the person who
identified Carter an Artis as the gunmen.
Click here for more.
"You ... cover up the
truth with lies."
|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!"
Mr. Dylan takes poetic license with the facts throughout the
song, particularly in his descriptions of what people said and
did. His quotes are not real (according to the real "Miss
Patty Valentine," who was interviewed for this report).
Valentine could not see the bartender. His body was behind
the bar. (See photo)
Read Pat Valentine's
1967 trial testimony in full!
|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.
The "somethin' that he never done" line fails the
accuracy test. [See
"Carter Guilty" headline that appeared a year after
this song came out]
Could-a been the champ? His record was 7-7-1 in 1965-'66 and
getting worse each year.
Ring Magazine says Carter's
career is going down the tubes. Article published two months
before the murders.
View his boxing record for 1965-'66.
|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.
Mr. Dylan's imagination is running wild again.
It was four months later when Bello admitted to police that
he had taken cash from the register. See
report from October 1966
Bello DID NOT step over bodies to go steal money from the
cash register. He went to the register to get a dime to call
police and took an extra $60 in cash -- which he fully admitted
at trial. Yes he stole it; no, that was not his reason for going
to the register. [Read his
Pat Valentine said on 1/12/00 that none of this exchange between
her and Bello actually happened.
BOTH Bello and Valentine called the cops. Bello was so rattled
while he was on the phone that he couldn't remember what street
the bar was on and ran outside to look for a sign. He couldn't
find it -- even though it was right there on the corner. [Read his taped statement about the
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
Now you can ride along on Carter's getaway route using YouTube.
See for yourself where he was pulled over ... just minutes from
the murder scene, not "far away in another part of town," as Dylan
Dylan's language implies that it was a casual drive, but prosecutors
believe that after the shootings Carter rendezvoused with accomplices,
dumped the guns at an apartment and was trying to get home when
he was first stopped by police, as the map shows.
Also see getaway graphics
on main page and the YouTube video of
the getaway route.
admitted he was only a few blocks away just before the murders,
in a bar called the Nite Spot. [SEE
Carter's hangout AND the murder scene in one photo!] --
[See map of getaway route.]
Number One Contender??? Carter
was No. 3 in May 1965, but just 10 months later he had fallen
to No. 9, according to "Ring" magazine. That last ranking
was published in May of 1966, the month before the murders. "Ring"
said Carter's hopes for a crack at the middleweight title were
View "Ring's" 1966 article
about Carter's fading career.
Carter's record was a dismal 7-7-1
in 1965 and 1966.
Ring Magazine's rankings for Carter:
- 1962: Unranked
- 1963: No. 3 contender
- 1964: No. 3 contender
- 1965: No. 5 contender
- 1966: Unranked
(The champion is on top of the rankings, then comes the No.
1 contender and so on.)
|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 wanna draw the heat.
This is the first of several verses in which Dylan uses
racism over reason in an attempt to discredit those who prosecuted
Carter. His use of racism is coupled with generalizations
that don't address the facts. Well, that's just the way things
No act of racism by prosecutors has ever been documented.
The judge who freed Carter said the use of the racial revenge
theory, which calls the murders retaliation for the earlier killing
of a black man, appealed to "racism over reason." But
the jury that convicted Carter in 1976 had two voting black members,
and a black legislator (working with a black investigator)
who examined the case for the N.J. governor said racial revenge
was the only plausible explanation for the murders. See Hawkins report.
On the day of the murders, press reports raised the possibility
of racial revenge. See end of article.
Carter's car was pulled over because it matched the description
of the getaway car perfectly. See
|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."
Bello did not admit the attempted burglary until months later
when he gave a full statement about what he saw that night. [Read that portion of statement]
(Bello and Bradley were near the murder scene to break into
a sheet metal company.)
[Bello explains why he kept his
mouth shut for four months in this police report]
The quote is made up, and the description of the car was
much more precise because it included the distinctive butterly
taillights. It was so precise that two police officers immediately
recognized Carter's car from the description because they had
pulled it over minutes before. [See car
|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.
|This implies that Valentine just
went along with the racist conspiracy when in fact she too
described the getaway car, its distinctive taillights, and
its out-of-state plates. Within an hour of the crime, she positively
identified Carter's car as the killers' getaway car. [See
Valentine's 2000 statement] [See
|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!"
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Two cops stopped Carter's car just
10 minutes after the murders and let him go. Minutes later,
after getting a detailed description of the killers' car, those
cops realized Carter's car fit the description and went looking
for it. They found it -- with Carter and Artis inside -- just
30 minutes after the murders. THAT is how Carter got caught.
See map [See
He ain't the guy?! The wounded man, Willie Marins, made
no such statement. He said "I don't know." [See graphic] [See
Marins was too scared to identify Carter publicly, but privately
he told his brother and two friends that it was Carter and Artis
who did the shooting. (See news story.)
Significantly, Marins NEVER SAID it was NOT Carter and
Artis. Carter reports that fact in his own book on Page 329.
|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
"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'
"Don't forget that you are white."
This is made up and another irresponsible attempt to discredit
by using racism without facts. The quotes are all made up.
The cops had no need to put the screws to Bradly because his
partner Bello had already identified Carter by name. See
After Bello gave his statement, detectives went
to interview Bradley who was 75 miles away in a reformatory
and therefore could not have coordinated stories with Bello.
During the interview, Bradley was afraid to identify Carter while
a guard was present, but said the killer "has many fans"
and said his initials are "R.C.," [Read
the detectives' report] Bradley's full statement about the
events of that night matched Bello's.
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
Now you don't wanta have to go back to jail, be a nice fellow.
You'll be doin' society a favor.
This is all made up.
Bradley was already IN jail (a reformatory) when he was
approached by detectives.
According to the investigating detectives' report: "The
guard went out of the room for a short period and Bradley said
the he saw Rubin Carter come around the corner with what he thought
was a rifle. ... Bradley confirmed the story told to us by Alfred
Bello." Read the report (same
page as in preceding graph)
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."
Dylan is again trying to discredit police by attributing
their actions to racism without citing facts.
I think the "braver" line is an allusion to Carter's
comments in the Saturday Evening Post about shooting cops. See story. Carter blames the story for bringing
the cops down on him but then, he blames others for virtually
everything bad that ever happened to him.
Gentleman Jim was a famous white boxer.
|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.
Noooo he liked to talk about punching out horses. See story. And shooting at people. See story.
Paradise? Trout streams? Nice air? Oh c'mon, Bob! He left
his wife at home and was hanging around and drinking in Paterson
bars that night. He spent so much time at the Nite Spot he had
a special table.
This is a lame attempt to portray Carter who was convicted
of beating and robbing people before he became a convicted murderer
as a nature-loving man of peace. Funny. And sad. [See
page about the Content of Carter's Character page]
Months after Dylan released this song, Carter beat up a woman
who was the leader of the "Free Carter" campaign in
New Jersey. [See
Prosecutor's Brief.] [See
news story from 1976.]
|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
"Marked in advance?" Ah, the police conspiracy.
Doesn't it strike you as odd that no credible evidence of a conspiracy
has been revealed in over 35 years? Has Carter team ever taken
their conspiracy allegations to higher authorities? Has Carter
ever sued? No.
Pig-circus = police slur. Another attempt to discredit by
generalizing without facts.
The judge made them out to be drunkards from the slums? That's
news to me. That alone would have been grounds for a new trial.
[The judge did ask one drunken witness
how many drinks he had consumed before testifying.]
Revolutionary? Will someone please fill me in on Rubin Carter's
civil rights achievements? I am aware of none except his
claim to have turned down Dr. King when King allegedly asked
him to join a march. All the black leaders Carter claims to have
been friends with are dead (King, Malcolm X, Steve Biko). Does
that tell you anything? ($100
REWARD for a clipping that proves Carter's civil rights claims.)
|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.
No guns were needed to get a conviction. Two trials proved
The jury that convicted Carter in 1976 had two blacks.
Of course, that trial occurred after this song was written.
Prosecutor Burrell Ives Humphreys, the man who at the 1976
trial said Carter "did the deed," was a civil rights
activist and a member of the NAACP. He was about as far from
being a racist as a white guy can get. See
excerpts from 1967 interview.
|Rubin Carter was
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.
Bello and Bradley baldly lied? They were interviewed separately
and had not seen each other in months, yet they told the same
story about that night. Other witnesses corroborated parts of
their stories. See graphic.
Newspapers went along for the ride? Here's another pathetic
attempt to discredit without offering a shred of facts. When
this song was being written, my paper was printing "the
other side of the story," which showed why Carter was guilty.
Carter's team didn't like that. [Now you
can read local newspaper coverage of Carter's 1967 trial. More
than 50 actual clippings!]
If Dylan had adhered to the standards of ethics and accuracy
that are followed by good newspaper reporters, this would be
a much different song.
|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.
I take this to be a shot at Lt. DeSimone, by all accounts
a decent, honest and sensitive man, and not a racist. [See
graphic.] [See his obituary.]
[See testimonial dinner program] The
attacks in this song were very hurtful to DeSimone and his family.
His boss was also a very ethical man. See
excerpts from 1967 interview (same as two blocks above).
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.
Copyright © 1975 Ram's Horn Music
People have received millions of dollars for being falsely
imprisoned. So why hasn't Rubin Carter sued?
Could-a been a champion? More likely he could-a been a Quadruple
Bottom line ... it's a great song if you just ignore the words.
Cal Deal (e-mail)