Few artists in the world are comparable to the late great Man in Black, Johnny Cash. The singer is not only considered one of the most powerful voices in music history, but as a composer, he was second to none. Here we have rank 20 of the great man’s best covers throughout his career to celebrate his wild and esteemed talent.
#20 ‘For The Good Times’ – Al Green
A classic Al Green song, where Cash managed to give it a soulful sway. Cash’s rendition of the song is undeniably beautiful that you can feel the sound of broken hearts.
#19 ‘I Hung My Head’ – Sting
Some people did not discover this song through Sting, but in the voice of the great Johnny Cash who made a version in 2002, a year before his death. It was in American IV: The Man Comes Around, the last work released in life and composed mostly of covers that he interprets with his own unmistakable style.
#18 ‘Girl from the North Country’ – Bob Dylan
Cash spent a full day at Columbia Studio A in Nashville recording with Bob Dylan, though only one duet, Girl from the North Country, eventually came to light in Dylan’s Nashville Skyline. To return the favor and also promote the album, Dylan agreed to appear in the first episode of The Johnny Cash Show, alongside Joni Mitchell and violinist Doug Kershaw.
#17 ‘Redemption Day’ – Sheryl Crow
In contemplating whether or not to cover “Redemption Day,” Johnny Cash reached out to Sheryl Crow so that she could enlighten him on the specific meaning of a particular lyrics. Cash was very meticulous about just singing songs that he personally believed in.
#16 ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ – The Band
This was included in the 1975 album John R. Cash where Cash started covering original songs. This song came up written and recorded by Robbie Robertson and The Band, one of their iconic songs.
#15 ‘I’m On Fire’ – Bruce Springsteen
Song written and performed by Bruce Springsteen and released in 1985 and it was the fourth single from his album ¨Born in the USA¨ This was part of a Bruce Springsteen tribute album in 2000 – where it showcased the friendship of Cash and The Boss.
#14 ‘No Expectations’ – The Rolling Stones
Cash rearranged the song turning it into a bluegrass. He would include the song on his 1978 album Gone Girl releasing as a full single preceding The Rolling Stones’ original.
#13 ‘Rusty Cage’ – Soundgarden
Johnny Cash and recorded by Chis Cornell was released to commemorate the 86th birthday of the dead American country legend in 2003. “You Never Knew My Mind” is a poem written by Cash, combined with a song called “You Never Knew My Mind” I Never Knew My Mind”, both left by the composer among other unpublished material. Chris Cornell, an avowed fan of the singer, recorded the song just before committing suicide in May 2017. The song is part of the album “Johnny Cash: Forever Words” — a tribute filled with lyrics, poems and songs never recorded before. This is not the first partnership between the two. In 1996, Cash recorded the song “Rusty Cage”, composed by Cornell for his then band Soundgarden.
#12 ‘Johnny 99’ – Bruce Springsteen
Cash didn’t just covered this song, he even titled the entire album after the song. This was originally recorded in 1982 by Springsteen, while Cash’s in 1983, making it his own.
#11 ‘Have You Seen The Rain’ – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Rainbow is considered the worst Cash’s album o all time, but it managed to caught everyone’s attention with the cover of CCR’s Have You Seen The Rain. It was the only song that shined throughout the entire album.
#10 ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry’ – Hank Williams
Considered as one of the saddest country songs ever composed, Johnny Cash covered the song that makes shivers – an effortless rendition that showcased the Man in Black’s incredible talent.
#9 ‘Personal Jesus’ – Depeche Mode
Personal Jesus, the first single from the Violator album, became one of Depeche Mode’s best-known songs. The song has been interpreted by different artists, among which Johnny Cash stands out, who included a superb version of the song in The man comes around, the fourth volume of the albums made with producer Rick Rubin.
#8 ‘You Are My Sunshine’ – Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell
Johnny Cash’s version of this timeless song, written by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell, is definitely an old but good song that works wonderfully as a father-daughter dance song.
#7 ‘Redemption Song’ – Bob Marley
The day Johnny Cash and Joe Strummer joined forces to sing Bob Marley was the day when Rubin recorded the two musicians singing the true anthem that is Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”, both individually and as a duet, which was released on Unearthed in 2003.
#6 ‘One’ – U2
Ins and outs that show that “One” is a song that has a life of its own and has even been reincarnated in other artists such as the great Johnny Cash, who in 2001 recorded a version on his last acoustic album.
#5 ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ – Bob Dylan
One of Johnny Cash’s well-known cover songs where he performed it with June Carter as a homage to Bob Dylan as part of the Orange Blossom Special LP.
#4 ‘Won’t Back Down’ – Tom Petty
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers performed as Johnny Cash’s band on their 1996 album Unchained. In the version that appears on the album American III: Solitary Man, Petty harmonizes the melody alongside Cash.
#3 ‘God’s Gunna Cut You Down’ – Odetta
“God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” also known as “Run On” or “Run On for a Long Time,” is a traditional American song recorded by numerous artists from a wide variety of genres.The letter is directed to the sinners, warning that they will not be able to avoid the final judgment of God; Johnny Cash, take on a terrifying power. Like everything that Cash adapted in his last “American Recordings” this song was a real outrage; thanks to his voice.
#2 ‘In My Life’ – The Beatles
Cash included this classic Beatles song on the album American IV: The Man Comes Around. The original song was written by John Lennon with the help of Paul McCartney, and released in 1965.
#1 “Hurt” – Nine Inch Nails
Johnny Cash released his album American IV: The Man Comes Around in 2002, a compilation of covers featuring “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails, a song that seems to be sincere is better in the voice of the man, Cash.