What Bob Dylan Song Played At Johnny Cash’s Funeral
via JohnnyCashShow / YouTube
The enduring friendship between Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, two iconic figures in country and folk music, is marked by a deep mutual admiration that transcended four decades. Their connection began in 1964 at the Newport Folk Festival when Dylan, still a newcomer, faced backlash from the folk scene’s expectations of political and protest songs.
Cash, a stalwart defender
Wrote to Broadside magazine, saying,
“Shut up! And let me sing!”
This incident solidified their bond, leading to a lasting friendship.
While they collaborated only once on ‘Girl From The North Country’ in 1969, Cash and Dylan consistently honored each other’s work. Cash, along with June Carter, recorded ‘It Ain’t Me Babe,’ and Dylan regularly covered ‘Big River.’ Additionally, Dylan penned ‘Wanted Man’ for the country and blues legend.
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Religion became a unifying theme in their later years of friendship.
In the 1980s, Dylan embraced Christianity on his album Biography, featuring Johnny Cash’s favorite song, ‘Every Grain Of Sand.’ Resembling a hymn, the track reflects on past sins, seeking forgiveness and redemption—a theme that resonated deeply with Cash as he navigated sobriety for his family.
Requested at Cash’s funeral in 2003, ‘Every Grain Of Sand’ held special significance, following the recent loss of his wife. Expressing a connection between earth and heaven, Cash declared before his final performance,
“We connect somewhere between here and Heaven.”
Emmylou Harris and Sheryl Crow paid tribute to Cash by performing the song, highlighting its power and Dylan’s importance in Cash’s life. With lyrics like,
“I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea,” the track served as a poignant farewell to a cherished friend.