29 - The Resurrection of Johnny Cash

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Johnny Cash was a county music legend and one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, but he thought he was washed up by the mid 1990s. The Man In Black had lost his edge. His record company didn’t care about him any more, and he was playing small venues for a few hundred people.

Then, he met famous record producer Rick Rubin. The man who produced albums from Slayer and the Beastie Boys had a simple vision: he invited Johnny Cash to come to his house and record him playing his favorite songs.

This weird combination of Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin turned into a project that went from 1994 until John’s death in 2003. It produced a series of albums called the American Recordings where he put his own spin on songs from Bruce Springsteen, Depeche Mode, Tom Waits, Bob Marley, Danzig, U2, Tom Petty, and of course, Nine Inch Nails.

The project revitalized Johnny Cash’s career and reintroduced him to a whole new generation of fans. The original American badass was back.

On today’s episode of Prisoners of Rock and Roll, we are going to explore the times when Johnny Cash covered the music of other artists. We’re going to dive into the amazing work that came out of the American sessions as well as covers he did during his entire 50 year career.

Check out our episode playlist.

Part of Pantheon Podcasts.

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