Listen To 10 Johnny Cash Covers
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Isn’t it a humbling experience to have someone as iconic as Johnny Cash covering your music? While Cash is known for his hard-hitting originals, the singer-songwriter keeps his ears open for things old and new, channeling his own formula into them, and with great success. Here are some songs that Cash has anointed with his golden touch.
“Johnny 99” – Bruce Springsteen
Cash takes this Springsteen essential back to the ’50s with his rockabilly execution – but it doesn’t hide the bitterness in the song’s theme in any way. He even named an album after the song just a year after The Boss released the original.
“One” – U2
Taking U2’s own hit and infusing with it his own defiant pride, Cash takes “One” up a notch in a bare acoustic arrangement that stings in a different way.
“Redemption Song” – Bob Marley
Cash enlisted the help of the Clash’s Joe Strummer to bring justice to reggae icon Bob Marley’s song. The result was surprisingly good, with Cash and Strummer dishing out their own inflections in their version.
“No Expectations” – The Rolling Stones
The Stones’ ballad saw a rework when Cash threw in some bluegrass and Latin influences in “No Expectations”. The song was released on Cash’s 1978 album, Gone Girl.
“I Won’t Back Down” – Tom Petty
Cash worked with Petty and the Heartbreakers for a cover of I Won’t Back Down. Living up to the statement, Cash bounced back from illness to deliver this track with defiance that matched Petty’s intentions with the song.
“Rusty Cage” – Soundgarden
Who would believe that Cash would dabble in the material of something as modern as a Soundgarden song? “Rusty Cage” was pushed out with such dreariness that surprisingly worked out well for his version.
“Have You Ever The Rain” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
The CCR classic was converted into an ’80s delicacy by Cash, imbuing it with musical elements from the era. The result was quite eccentric, although Cash still gave it the respect it deserved.
“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” – The Band
The Band’s cut wasn’t safe from Johnny Cash’s curiosity, as he made it into an upbeat, jazzy track. Quite a far cry from what Cash has been known to do, but great nonetheless.
“Hurt” – Nine Inch Nails
Nothing could go more authentic as Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”. Now frail, the singer-songwriter infuses it with what’s left of his vitality in an eerie delivery for the books.
“Redemption Day” – Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow was in constant contact with Cash on his final days, even asking her if he could borrow “Redemption Day.” She graciously obliged, with the song being released posthumously on American VI: Ain’t No Grave, with Cash teetering on his final legs as he delivered it with his last wisps of strength.