Sting Shares The Time Johnny Cash First Covered His Song
via Jimmy Kimmel Live / YouTube
Sting recently shared in an interview with People the profound impact that Johnny Cash’s cover of one of his songs had on him. The renowned rocker expressed his deep admiration for Cash’s storytelling abilities, which served as a catalyst for Sting’s exploration of similar themes in his own music. Despite hailing from the North of England, Sting found himself drawn to the narrative-driven nature of country music—a genre typically associated with regions like El Paso. Therefore, when Johnny Cash decided to cover Sting’s song “I Hung My Head” in 2002, the validation Sting felt for his artistic endeavors was undeniable.
Reflecting on Cash’s rendition, Sting conveyed, “The storytelling in those songs really had a profound effect on me, so I would try to write songs in that genre. But with me, it’s a question of authenticity. I’m from the North of England; I’m not from El Paso or somewhere romantic like that. But nonetheless, I like the storytelling aspect of country music. I like the biblical sweep of the landscape. So when somebody like Johnny Cash covers one of my songs, I feel vindicated somewhat.”
The country-infused vibe of Sting’s song can be traced back to his admiration for Hank Williams, whom he regarded as a mentor, as well as his childhood fascination with TV Westerns like Bonanza. This convergence of storytelling interests and childhood obsessions made Johnny’s rendition of Sting’s song all the more significant, as it brought together Sting’s love for narrative-driven music and his childhood infatuation in the form of a heartfelt cover.