Top 10 Covers of Johnny Cash Songs

Johnny Cash’s catalog is made up of nearly 50 years worth of songs, a collection of innumerable hits-turned-country standards. A fiery composer and a lyricist full of conviction, Cash was a force, and as a result, his music is still recognized today as groundbreaking. It’s no wonder why his repertoire is regularly re-imagined.

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However, making a Cash classic all your own is no easy feat. Below are 10 noteworthy covers of those who have tried their hands at the country legend’s hits.

1. “Ring of Fire” – Blondie

Blondie offers a new wave rendition of the Cash hit, “Ring of Fire.” While the home tape recording below sounds jumbled at times, frontwoman Debbie Harry’s voice is just as stern and powerful as the Man in Black’s.

2. “I Walk the Line” – Dolly Parton

Fellow country icon Dolly Parton gives “I Walk the Line” a little ’80s flair. Beat-heavy instead of guitar-driven like the original, her 1984 version is surprisingly more rock than country.

3. “Jackson” – Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood

Pop power duo Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood deliver a swamped up and jangling performance of the great June Carter-Johnny Cash duet “Jackson.” While their vocals come off as monotone when compared to the expressive original, the Sinatra-Hazelwood rendition is still a fun reimagining of a classic.

4. “Folsom Prison Blues” – Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile took part in the tribute album We Walk The Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash and gave a stunning live performance of the racing, raucous Cash hit “Folsom Prison Blues.” Not much deviates from the original, but Carlile makes the song all her own with vocals that pack a punch.

5. “Cry, Cry, Cry” – Norah Jones

Live at Farm Aid 25, Norah Jones takes on the early Cash hit “Cry, Cry, Cry.” Again, her performance doesn’t stray from the original, but her bright vocals give the song weightlessness where there was once a brooding baritone.

6. “Train of Love” – Bob Dylan

Featured on Kindred Spirits: A Tribute To The Songs Of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan croaks out his version of Cash’s “Train of Love.” He slows down the once buoyant tune, giving it a drawn-out arrangement in the Dylan fashion, making sure every word can sink in.

7. “Long Black Veil” – Dave Matthews Band

Dave Matthews turns the melancholy Cash deep cut “Long Black Veil” into a fluttery eight-minute jam. Backed by a legion of angelic voices and a pattering of crisp drums, the live performance makes an almost hopeful, uplighting song out of a murder ballad.

8. “Cocaine Blues” – Billy Strings, Post Malone

Guitar virtuoso Billy Strings invited rap star Post Malone onstage for an impromptu rendition of Cash’s “Cocaine Blues.” The result was a bluegrass-fueled good time between the two artists.

9. “Get Rhythm” – Little Richard

Another cover featured on the album Kindred Spirits: A Tribute To The Songs Of Johnny Cash, Cash’s early classic “Get Rhythm” gets fired up by Little Richard. Richard’s piano-pounding brilliance adds more than a little excitement to the shuffling country tune.

10. “Give My Love To Rose” – Bruce Springsteen

The Boss takes the Man in Black’s “Give My Love To Rose” and strips it back even further, making the already mournful song that much more heart-aching. Just Springsteen and his acoustic guitar, he stuns with the tragic Cash classic.

Courtesy of The John R Cash Trust / Shorefire Media

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