Bob Dylan: Who Killed Davey Moore? (1963)

 |   |  <1 min read

Bob Dylan: Who Killed Davey Moore? (1963)

Bob Dylan's Hurricane in '75 is one of the best known songs about a boxer -- but very early in his career Dylan also sang another about a boxer, the fighter Davey Moore who was knocked out by Mexico-based Sugar Ramos from Cuba during a bout in March 1963.

Moore spoke to the media afterwards (the illustration is taken from a famous post-fight photo) but then complained of headaches, slipped into a comatose state and subsequently died.

At the time Dylan was taking many of his social-conscience stories from current events and just 18 days after Moore's death, Dylan played this song for the first time at concert in the New York Town Hall.

As a song about those involved in the fight game side-stepping responsibility it is pointed and his tone - somewhere between sadness, questioning and accusatory -- is increasingly engrossing as the song unfolds leading to the quite chilling, "I hit him, I hit him yes that's true -- but that's what I am paid to do . . . don't say 'murder', don't say 'kill'. It was destiny, it was God's will."

The song became quickly popular in folk circles and was covered by Pete Seeger and Phil Ochs but then, as with the death of Moore, it faded into the past.

But even now, with the events so distant, it still has power. This version was recorded in late '63 and is taken from the Bob Dylan Bootleg Series Vol 1-3.

For more unusual music or songs with a back-story see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Double J and Twice the T: Mod Rap (1989)

Double J and Twice the T: Mod Rap (1989)

While going through a pile of old New Zealand singles I chanced on this. They may not have been gangstas or even remotely hard, but if you check the clip below their hearts were in the right place.... > Read more

? and the Mysterians: Can't Get Enough of You Baby (1967)

? and the Mysterians: Can't Get Enough of You Baby (1967)

It's a common enough sentiment, but in the fast-changing world of pop "If it ain't broke, why try to fix it?" just doesn't work. That idea would have kept the Beatles singing... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Travel with seniors: practical advice for older travellers

Travel with seniors: practical advice for older travellers

We were in a crowded post office in Venice when I said to my mother-in-law Sue, "You know the first thing you pack when you travel? Patience." We needed it that morning. We were sending... > Read more

MOHOLY-NAGY AND THE BAUHAUS, PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION ESSAY (2003)

MOHOLY-NAGY AND THE BAUHAUS, PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION ESSAY (2003)

Lazlo Moholy-Nagy would argue that our eyesight was defective and limited. He would cite the pioneering 19th-century German physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz, who told his students if an optician... > Read more