Happy Birthday, Johnny Cash: 7 Pop Covers Of The Man In Black

Feb 26th, 2012 // 2 Comments

Johnny Cash, legendary American singer and songwriter, would have celebrated his 80th birthday today. But even though he’s been gone for nearly a decade, his ground-breaking music and style still wield influence. His impact on songwriting extends well beyond the genres usually associated with his work — country, folk, rockabilly and blues — as artists of all stripes have revived or revamped his classics over the years. One of Cash’s most enduring tunes, “Ring of Fire”, for example, has been covered by everyone from R&B legend Ray Charles to New Wave rockers Blondie. We’ve rounded up six surprisingly pop-leaning Johnny Cash covers — plus one bonus cover-of-a-cover — below.

1. Adam Lambert – “Ring of Fire” (2009)

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2. Norah Jones – “Ain’t No Grave” (2011)

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3. Blondie – “Ring of Fire” (1980)

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4. Chris Isaak – “Ring of Fire” (2011)

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5. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon – “It Ain’t Me Babe” (2005)

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6. Ray Charles – “Ring of Fire” (1970)

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BONUS! Last year Leona Lewis turned out a rendition of Nine Inch Nails’ drug anthem “Hurt” off of the band’s 1994 album The Downward Spiral. Johnny Cash famously transformed the song into a stark and pain-riddled survey of his life for his 2002 album American IV: The Man Comes Around, changing the line “crown of shit” to “crown of thorns”. Time called the video for the track one of the 30 All-Time Best Music Videos. Watch both below.

Leona Lewis – “Hurt” (2011)

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Johnny Cash – “Hurt” (2002)

Did we forget one of your favorites? Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter.

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  1. Here’s the great Nick Cave doing a delightfully dark and gloomy cover of one of JC’s lesser known tracks from the mid 60′s.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFVUojBfHZI

    Also worth checking out is Cave’s song “Let the bells Ring,” a posthumous tribute to Cash.

  2. My favorite is Adam Lambert’s “Ring Of Fire.”

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