Ten Songs We Wish Johnny Cash Had Lived to Cover
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Ever since Johnny Cash died in 2003, oftentimes I'll hear a new song and feel a twinge of sadness. "You know, I would've loved to have heard Johnny sing that one," I'll think.
And it's a shame that we never will. All we can do is imagine as best as we can what it might sound like.
I think a lot artists who love Cash and his music, at some point, find themselves writing a song with Johnny's gorgeous, wizened baritone in mind. I know I did (here's a link if you care to hear it—it's called "Ghost Town"). Much more famously, Joe Strummer did. And I'm sure a lot of other artists did, too.
There are countless songs floating around out there that Cash might've put his indelible stamp on, had he made it just a few more years. Here are 10 of them...
1. Joe Strummer - "Long Shadow" (2003)
This is the tune I just mentioned. Strummer wrote it with with guitarist Smokey Hormel in tribute to Cash, and actually was able to play it for him before he died.
2. Silver Jews - "Candy Jail" (2008)
Singer David Berman's voice definitely owes a debt to Cash's. But even beyond the deep, booming delivery, the lyrics, phrasing, subject matter and thoughtful melancholy would've worked perfectly for Cash.
3. Bright Eyes - "If the Brakeman Turns My Way" (2007)
An excellent, introspective tune from Conor Oberst, about a soul-searching wanderer riding the rails.
4. Drive-By Truckers - "Bob" (2008)
A modern country classic from DBT's Mike Cooley, about an unapologetic outsider.
5. Death Cab for Cutie - "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" (2005)
I always imagine Johnny singing this song to June. After she passed away, it wasn't long before he followed.