Friday, July 3, 2015

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

White man kills Hattie.
He serves six months and gets out
Thanks to connections.

This is Bob Dylan's first song as troubador-journalist. "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" tells the story of Maryland tobacco farm owner Billy Zanzinger who got drunk at a Baltimore party, and beat a black hotel employee with a toy cane. The employee, Hattie Carroll, died of a brain hemorrhage hours later. Zanzinger first was charged with murder, with the charge later downgraded to manslaughter and assault. He said that he was too drunk to remember the incident. He was found guilty and sentenced to six months in jail. Dylan suggests that Zanzinger's society and political connections allowed him to serve the reduced sentence. Zanzinger later said he should have sued Dylan and gotten him sentenced to jail. He also characterized Dylan as "a scum of a scum bag of the earth." The song was released on the 1963 album "The Times They Are a-Changin'."

1 comment:

  1. Hello Robert, another slice of musical history condensed into three lines. Join us inside Bob Dylan's Music Box and listen to every version of every song.