Song #7 of 9999
Title: The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Artist: Bob Dylan
Year:1964Album: The Times They Are A-Changin'
Thought I'd do another one that's all about the lyrics. In this case, a broadside ballad by Bob Dylan about the 1963 assault and murder of an African-American barmaid at the Emerson Hotel in Baltimore. William Zantzinger, a white customer who verbally abused and beat Hattie Carroll with a cane for not delivering his bourbon quickly enough, was tried and convicted of manslaughter for which he received a sentence of six months in jail and a $500 fine.
If you've often wondered about why Bob Dylan is such a big deal (I'm thinking of younger listeners), this song should help you to understand. He wrote a lot of these types of songs that were "ripped from the headlines" before that was a thing and stood up for people who were on the losing end of injustice. One of the things I really love about the original recording of this song is the way Dylan seems almost incapable of containing his anger as he sings the final verse, his guitar-playing becoming more and more erratic.