‘One time he could-‘a’ been, the champion of the world’: Bob Dylan's ‘Hurricane’ as protest song
This article focuses on ‘Hurricane’, a song co-written by Bob Dylan (born 24 May 1941) and released in November 1975 on the Columbia Records label. The song details the imprisonment of an African-Amercian middleweight boxer, Carter Rubin ‘Hurricane’ (born 6 May 1937 in Delawanna, NJ) for a triple murder with accomplice John Artis in 1967. Like other examples of the ‘protest’ genre, ‘Hurricane’ explores versions of historic events, as does Carter Rubin's first autobiography The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender to Number 45472 (1973). The article begins with their creation as an intersection of popular music and sport to highlight inequalities in society. The second section considers more recent releases including a biopic, The Hurricane (1999) starring Denzel Washington and a second Carter autobiography Eye of the Hurricane: My Path From Darkness to Freedom (2011). Each is read as a multilayered text, reinterpreting the image of the fighter as his circumstances change from imprisonment to freedom.
Citation : Williams, J. (2013) ‘One time he could-‘a’ been, the champion of the world’: Bob Dylan's ‘Hurricane’ as protest song. Sport in Society: Cultures, Commerce, Media, Politics, 17 (3), pp. 371-387
Research Group : International Centre for Sports History and Culture
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Humanities