Rusty’s 45 pick: ‘Hurricane’ by Bob Dylan (1975)

“Hurricane” by Bob Dylan

Rusty (hey, that’s me!) says:

“Ok, so this might seem like a strange choice for a kid from Cape Cod. ‘Hurricane’ is a protest song about the ‘imprisonment of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a middleweight boxer who was accused of triple homicide in 1966.’ When the song came out, I was five.

[cue photo of five-year-old me]

Rusty in 1975

At five, I didn’t really ‘hear’ the lyrics. I’ve grown to appreciate them, of course.

They begin:

Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees a 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 somethin’ that he never done
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world

Grim, right?

So, my father was a HUGE Dylan fan. He bought three copies of all of his records: One to listen to, and two as backups (you know, just in case). He played this single A LOT. He had both the 45 and the album the song is featured on, Desire. My father was such a fan of Dylan’s, that when I was 10 and he died, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ was playing as they placed his casket in the ground. THAT Dylan song has a whole different meaning for me, naturally!

‘Hurricane’ was different.

Despite its content, it was about the good times, the good times I had with my dad. I really dug the tune itself too, and I still do. The song is long, clocking in at over 8 minutes, and I can listen to it over and over again. And, I do.”


Dylan visiting Rubin in prison.

By the way, my runner up songs are as follows:

“These Boots are made for Walkin'” by Nancy Sinatra (1965)

“Pop Muzik” by M (1979)

“Mexican Radio” by Wall of Voodoo

Wondering what this is all about?

In September 2015, I asked readers of my inbox zine, Rusty’s Electric Dreams, to share their all-time favorite single from the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s and tell me why they like it.

Years ago, a friend of mine had a “33 1/3” birthday party where she spun vinyl LPs. I thought that was a cool idea and imagined doing that for my 45th, but with everyone sharing their favorite 45 RPM singles.

So, here we are. It’s September 2015 and my birthday quickly approaches.

Instead of having a big bash, I have a SPECIAL REQUEST to ask of all of you. I want to take a musical trip down memory lane, because –seriously– where would we be without music??

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