THE COVERS OF CASH
April 26, 2018
In Johnny Cash’s hands, any song was a potent force. His own compositions, of course, were the most powerful items in his repertoire, but the Man In Black also worked with traditional folk songs and, occasionally, the work of other contemporary musicians.
Here’s six of the best.
‘Hurt’ – Nine Inch Nails
Perhaps the most well-known example of a cover superseding the original. Cash stripped Nine Inch Nails hissing slice of electronica down to a threadbare vocal and slowly building guitar. Tragic and triumphant.
‘Rusty Cage’ – Soundgarden
Cash’s trad-country version of Soundgarden’s ’91 smash hit won him the 1996 Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell would return the favour, contributing a track to the ‘Johnny Cash: Forever Words’ album shortly before his death.
‘I Won’t Back Down’ – Tom Petty
Cash and Petty already had history – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers served as Cash’s backing band on his ‘Unchained’ album. So it was no surprise that Petty himself was happy to lend harmonies to this gruff, Cash-ified rendition from 2000.
‘Redemption Song’ – Bob Marley
As if proof were needed that music links us all, Marley’s legendary tribute to emancipation fits perfectly into Cash’s world of hope deferred. This version is made all the more precious by the appearance of the late Joe Strummer, in LA on vacation, who joined Cash on the track during the 2002 sessions for ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around’.
‘The Mercy Seat’ – Nick Cave
Both often walking a common ground of grim, biblical balladry, it’s no surprise that Cave and Cash’s spirits should be kindred, and ‘The Mercy Seat’s tale of an unjustly condemned man is the perfect meeting place. Cash’s cover is from 2000’s ‘American III: Solitary Man’.
‘Girl From The North Country’ – Bob Dylan
Another duet, this time two titans of American music, Cash and Dylan, join forces to perform one of the latter’s most enduring classics. Recorded live for The Johnny Cash show in 1969, the rare network appearance from Dylan was a sign of the esteem in which he held the host.
The spirit of Johnny Cash – his passion and his pain – comes to life for a new generation on ‘Johnny Cash: Forever Words.’ The new album features Cash’s unknown poems and lyrics set to music by artists inspired by The Man In Black, from Chris Cornell to John Mellencamp to Elvis Costello.
One of the most powerful music videos of all time, ‘Hurt’ was shot just seven months before Johnny Cash’s passing in 2003.Read more
“I always knew Johnny Cash had my back.”
We asked for the times the Man In Black got you through. Here are your Johnny Cash Love Stories.Read more
In Johnny Cash’s hands, any song was a potent force. His own compositions, of course, were the most powerful items in his repertoire, but the Man In Black also worked with traditional folk songs and, occasionally, the work of other contemporary musicians.Read more
He is The Man In Black and you might just owe him your life.Read more
With a huge array of contemporary artists turning the unfinished writings of Johnny Cash into new original music on ‘Johnny Cash: Forever Words’, we look at some other times when the pen was mightier than the chord…Read more
The spirit of Johnny Cash – his passion and his pain – comes to life for a new generation on ‘Johnny Cash: Forever Words.’ This new album, featuring Cash’s unknown poems and lyrics set to music by artists inspired by The Man In Black, is available everywhere now.Read more
April’s Artist of the Month needs no introduction.Read more
Watch the video for the latest track from ‘Johnny Cash: Forever Words’, an album of new material drawn from the writings of the Man In Black, released April 6th.Read more
Here are this year’s much anticipated releases!Read more
- I walk the lineJohnny Cash
- HurtJohnny Cash
- I still miss someoneJohnny Cash
- A boy named Sue - LiveJohnny Cash
- JacksonJohnny Cash
- and lots more!...
Listen to a new live recording of ‘I Walk The Line’…Read more
Our vinyl of the week is The Junkie and the Juicehead Minus Me by Johnny Cash…Read more
I Would Like To See You Again by Johnny Cash is our vinyl of the week.Read more
Take a look at what we released this Record Store Day.Read more