Simple Guitar Tabs – Hurricane (Dylan)

I’ve greatly simplified this without changing any of the chords. This is intended for guitarists and other musicians, so it’s easy to glance at the music and see what you need to see, without any clutter.  I also re-align the word wraps, because the “poetic” pacing, the lyrics written in rhythm, are usually done incorrectly on the popular chord website “Ultimate Guitar,” making it much more difficult a task to play the song.

When I tried to submit chords for the Bob Dylan song “Isis” to Ultimate Guitar’s site, they rejected my submission. The song has three chords, which repeat in a simple pattern. There is no chorus or bridge; it just goes around in circles from beginning to end with those same three chords. Imagine being a guitar player, and having to study the complicated-looking chords shown on Ultimate, with lines wrapped wrong so the pattern doesn’t emerge … only to come to the final conclusion that all you needed was for someone to tell you it’s A, G, D, A. That’s it. That’s the entire song.

I submitted it with all the lyrics, and at the top, the three chords. It all lines up perfectly if you see it, and I was hoping to save people from having to search through the whole (long) song to find they only need to know three chords. But Ultimate requires that you put all the chords in, and try to line them up atop the word they fall onto in the rhythm. It can end up being a real visual mess.

I’ve done this for hundreds of songs (cleaned them up to make them visually work when performing), and will publish them periodically. You will probably, like me, be amazed how patterns emerge. After all, that’s how the song was written; it wasn’t just a complicated hodgepodge, so I always make a 100% effort to find the simple patterns. They should never have been hidden!

This is a good example. Most modern songs, like the one below, have two main parts, a verse and a chorus, which alternate. Sometimes there’s a bridge. In this case, it’s just two chord patterns. You can see, you only need to learn the two patterns, and you’ve learned all the chords in the song. Sometimes an artist will vary a tiny bit or add a chord for transition or suspense, but often a great, million-dollar song, is much simpler than it appears, especially if you use the popular technique of Google searching.

One of the tricks of songwriting is to honor the template; to keep it simple, do exactly what’s expected; write super simple and repetitively as if you want a singalong … and then add a twist. The twists, the tricky parts, the big parts, can’t exist without the underlying simple, repetitive structure. Still, the tricky parts aren’t all that tricky, if you look at the song as simply as possible. When you wrap the lines correctly, you’ll see chord patterns line up on top of each other, and any changes – the changes are the tricks. But you won’t see them (and they’re usually simple) until you find the simple patterns that are being violated. Dropping, doubling, tripling, speeding up are some tricks. One that’s especially clever is using a different melody for the singing than the underlying song. Even more clever, and used often by popular artists, is simply laying the lyrics over the basic chord pattern in an offset way – so the singing line starts late, or one line has way too many words in it, so it has to be sung fast. The incorrect-transcriber (and they abound) will probably wrap the lines wrong. Once you play through it, though, you’ll see how wrapping them correctly makes the whole experience suddenly much easier to understand!

I hope this is helpful. Drop me a comment!

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Hurricane          Bob Dylan

Am – F (2X)

Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night                                   Am – F
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood
Cries out my God they killed them all!

Here comes the story of the Hurricane                                          C F -G
The man the authorities came to blame                                        C F
For something that he never done                                                    Dm C
Put in a prison cell but one time                                                         Dm C Em
He could have been the champion of the world                        Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

Three bodies lying there does Patty see                                         Am – F
And another man named Bello movin’ around mysteriously
I didn’t do it he says and he throws up his hands
I was only robbing the register! I hope you understand!

I saw them leavin’ he says and he stops                                            C F -G
One of us had better call up the cops                                                  C F
And so Patty calls the cops                                                                       Dm C
And they arrive on the scene with their red lights                     Dm C Em
Flashin’ in the hot New Jersey night!                                              Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

Meanwhile far away in another part of town                                  Am – F
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are drivin’ around
Number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down

When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road                       C F -G
Just like the time before and the time before that                          C F
In Paterson that’s just the way things go                                             Dm C
If you’re black you might as well not show up                                   Dm C Em
On the street, ’less you wanna draw the heat!                                Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the cops           Am – F
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowlin’ around
He said I saw two men runnin’ out, they looked like middleweights
They jumped into a white car with out of state plates

And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head                             C F -G
Cop said wait a minute boys, this one’s not dead                           C F
So they took him to the infirmary                                                            Dm C
And though this man could hardly see, they told him                   Dm C Em
He could identify the guilty man!                                                          Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

Four in the morning and they haul Rubin in                                      Am – F
Take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs
The wounded man looks up through his one dying eye
Says what’d you bring him in here for? He ain’t the guy!

Yes here’s the story of the Hurricane                                                 C F -G
The man the authorities came to blame                                           C F
For somethin’ that he never done                                                         Dm C
Put in a prison cell but one                                                                      Dm C Em
Time he could have been the champion of the world!             Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

Four months later, the ghettos are in flame                                     Am – F
Rubin’s in South America, fighting for his name
While Arthur Dexter Bradley’s still in the robbery game
And the cops are puttin’ the screws to him lookin’ for somebody to blame

Remember that murder that happened in a bar?                          C F -G
Remember you said you saw the getaway car?                             C F
Think you’d like to play ball with the law?                                           Dm C
Think it mighta been that fighter you saw                                       Dm C Em
Runnin’ that night? Don’t forget that you are white!                  Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

Arthur Dexter Bradley said I’m really not sure                               Am – F
Cops said a poor boy like you could use a break
We got you for the motel job and we’re talking to your friend Bello
Now you don’t wanna have to go back to jail, be a nice fellow

You’ll be doin’ society a favor                                                                     C F -G
That son of a bitch is brave and getting braver                                 C F
We want to put his ass in stir                                                                      Dm C
We want to pin this triple murder                                                            Dm C Em
On him! He ain’t no gentleman Jim!                                                      Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch                            Am – F
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
It’s my work he’d say. I do it for pay
And when it’s over I’d just as soon go on my way

Up to some paradise                                                                                      C F -G
Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice                            C F
And ride a horse along a trail                                                                     Dm C
But then they took him to the jailhouse                                              Dm C Em
Where they try to turn a man into a mouse!                                     Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

All of Rubin’s cards were marked in advance                                  Am – F
The trial was a pig circus, he never had a chance
The judge made Rubin’s witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum

And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger                              C F -G
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger                                             C F
And though they could not produce the gun                                        Dm C
The DA said he was the one                                                                     Dm C Em
Who did the deed, and the all-white jury agreed!                         Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

Rubin Carter was falsely tried                                                                  Am – F
The crime was murder one, guess who testified?
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers, they all went along for the ride

How can the life of such a man                                                                    C F -G
Be in the palm of some fool’s hand?                                                          C F
To see him obviously framed                                                                        Dm C
Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed                                           Dm C Em
To live in a land where justice is a game!                                           Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties                           Am – F
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell

That’s the story of the Hurricane                                                              C F -G
But it won’t be over till they clear his name                                          C F
And give him back the time he’s done                                                    Dm C
Put in a prison cell but one                                                                        Dm C Em
Time he could have been the champion of the world!                Am F C -G

Am – F (2X)



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