Amazing, seldom-seen debut performance of one of Bob Dylan’s greatest protest songs. This full rendition of “Hurricane,” Dylan’s impassioned defense of wrongfully imprisoned middle-weight boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, was taped on September 10, 1975 (over two months before the single was released in November).
According to the song’s co-writer, Jacques Levy:
“Bob wasn’t sure that he could write a song [about Carter].... He was just filled with all these feelings about Hurricane. He couldn’t make the first step. I think the first step was putting the song in a total storytelling mode. I don’t remember whose idea it was to do that. But really, the beginning of the song is like stage directions, like what you would read in a script: ‘Pistol shots ring out in a barroom night…. Here comes the story of the Hurricane.’ Boom! Titles. You know, Bob loves movies, and he can write these movies that take place in eight to ten minutes, yet seem as full or fuller than regular movies.”
Dylan, along with Rob Stoner on bass, Howie Wyeth on drums and Scarlet Rivera on violin, also performs “Oh, Sister” and “Simple Twist of Fate.”
Part of The World Of John Hammond, a PBS Soundstage tribute to the great record producer and Civil Rights activist, taped at WTTW-TV Studios Chicago, Illinois. Originally broadcast on December 13, 1975.