39. "Hurricane" (1976)
In 1975, Dylan took up the cause of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, a black boxer serving a life sentence for a 1966 triple murder. "I recognized the fact that here was a brother," Carter said of Dylan, who visited him in jail. Dylan would organize two benefit concerts, and with theater director Jacques Levy, he wrote "Hurricane," a roaring declaration of the boxer's innocence. The song opens like a film script ("Pistol shots ring out in the barroom night"), and ends more than eight minutes later with Carter in jail. The attention Dylan called to Carter helped win him a retrial, but he was convicted again. Then, in 1985, that conviction was overturned. In 1988, all murder charges against him were dropped.