Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer who was wrongfully convicted of murder and spent 19 years in prison before being freed in 1985, died Sunday at the age of 76 after a battle with prostate cancer. Carter’s story was best known as the subject of the 1999 film “Hurricane,” starring Denzel Washington. But before that, Carter was immortalized in a 1975 Bob Dylan song, also called “Hurricane.”
There’s a rich history of athletes-as-song-subjects. Some of the other top hits.
“Mrs. Robinson” by Simon & Garfunkel will ensure that Joe DiMaggio will never be forgotten (as if his baseball exploits weren’t enough).
“Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John, while not explicitly about Billie Jean King or tennis, was dedicated to her.
“Piazza, New York Catcher” by Belle and Sebastian has to be the only song about a New York Mets player written by a bunch of twee Scots.
“Magic Johnson” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is about Magic Johnson. (It has dirty, non-Post-approved words in it, so google it yourself.)
“Double Vision” by Foreigner was inspired by a 1977 Stanley Cup Playoffs game in which New York Rangers goalie John Davidson was knocked out of the game with a concussion. The PA announcer said Davidson was experiencing double vision, a term guitarist Mick Jones (who was at the game) had never heard before.
“Gordie Howe is the Greatest of Them All” by Big Bob and the Dollars was described as “spectacularly unmusical” when it was released in 1963. I sternly disagree.