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Just heard about William Zantzinger

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William Zantzinger, the man Bob Dylan made famous for "kill[ing] poor Hattie Carroll," has died. Zantzinger spent his life in the shadow of an early Dylan song, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, which described Carroll, a black barmaid, as "slain by [Zantzinger's] cane".

 

Zantzinger might not have been the cold-blooded murderer of Dylan's song, but neither was he a saint. His infamy stems from an incident in 1963, when Zantzinger was 23. While visiting a Baltimore hotel, the wealthy young man struck Carroll on the head and shoulders with a toy cane. According to reports, Zantzinger didn't think the 51-year-old was serving him fast enough. Although the blows left no mark, the "emotional upsurge" of the attack provoked a fatal a brain haemorrhage in Carroll.

 

Charged with involuntary manslaughter, Zantzinger paid a $25,000 fine and served a six-month prison sentence. But for Bob Dylan the story was a metaphor for race and class in America, and six months was not enough to live it down. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, released on 1964's The Times They Are A-Changin', describes Zantzinger committing "first-degree murder", "twirling" his cane "around his diamond ring finger".

 

The slander couldn't have happened to a nicer person. After getting out of jail, Zantzinger became involved in real estate, only to be arrested in 1991 for fraud. He was fined $62,000 and sentenced to 2,400 hours of community service.

 

"[Dylan] is a no-account son of a bitch," Zantzinger told Dylan biographer Howard Sounes in 2001. "He's just like a scum bag of the earth. I should have sued him and put him in jail. [The song is] a total lie."

 

Zantzinger was 69.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jan/0...oll-inspiration

 

One of my all time favourite Dylan tracks...

 

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William Zantzinger, the man Bob Dylan made famous for "kill[ing] poor Hattie Carroll," has died. Zantzinger spent his life in the shadow of an early Dylan song, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, which described Carroll, a black barmaid, as "slain by [Zantzinger's] cane".

 

Zantzinger might not have been the cold-blooded murderer of Dylan's song, but neither was he a saint. His infamy stems from an incident in 1963, when Zantzinger was 23. While visiting a Baltimore hotel, the wealthy young man struck Carroll on the head and shoulders with a toy cane. According to reports, Zantzinger didn't think the 51-year-old was serving him fast enough. Although the blows left no mark, the "emotional upsurge" of the attack provoked a fatal a brain haemorrhage in Carroll.

 

Charged with involuntary manslaughter, Zantzinger paid a $25,000 fine and served a six-month prison sentence. But for Bob Dylan the story was a metaphor for race and class in America, and six months was not enough to live it down. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, released on 1964's The Times They Are A-Changin', describes Zantzinger committing "first-degree murder", "twirling" his cane "around his diamond ring finger".

 

The slander couldn't have happened to a nicer person. After getting out of jail, Zantzinger became involved in real estate, only to be arrested in 1991 for fraud. He was fined $62,000 and sentenced to 2,400 hours of community service.

 

"[Dylan] is a no-account son of a bitch," Zantzinger told Dylan biographer Howard Sounes in 2001. "He's just like a scum bag of the earth. I should have sued him and put him in jail. [The song is] a total lie."

 

Zantzinger was 69.

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/jan/0...oll-inspiration

 

One of my all time favourite Dylan tracks...

 

 

 

I won a legal debate tournament at Uni based on this case. Go me.

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