Tear Jerker: Johnny Cash

This legendary country singer has a lot of moving songs.

  • His cover of the Nine Inch Nails song, "Hurt", is way, waaaaaaay more powerful and moving than the original. Considering that it's an old man singing rather than a young guy who still has his life ahead of him, that's probably why. Made the original writer change his mind on the song's theme.
    • Of course the original Nine Inch Nails version can be quite the Tear Jerker itself. Johnny Cash takes it, gives it minimalism and dignity, and makes it his own.
    • Perhaps the biggest respect offered is that when Trent Reznor finally heard Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt", he claimed that "the song is no longer mine." In the world of music, claiming a creation of yours is no longer yours is a degree of respect that you just don't see very often.
      • Reznor openly admits to shedding tears when he watched the music video for the first time.
    • For bonus tears, notice this little thing: in the music video, he's still wearing black.note 
      • And that his beloved wife had just passed on.
      • Actually, she was still alive, as you see her in the present day parts of the video. However, the camera cuts to her on the line 'Everyone I know goes away in the end' She died not long after that and the death was totally unexpected; everyone was expecting to lose Johnny first. According to Johnny Cash: The Life, June wasn't originally going to be in the video, but the director saw her watching Johnny filming and asked her to be in it.
  • Don't forget Johnny Cash's version of Sting's "I Hung my Head". Much, much better and more poignant than the original.
  • His cover of Spain's "Spiritual". A person and/or band can create a tearjerking song, but when you get Johnny Cash to cover such a song, it comes out as a more moving and powerful song.
  • His cover of Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam's "Father And Son" with Fiona Apple (not to be confused with another version with his stepdaughter Rosie Nix Adams called "Father And Daughter").
    • Steven's version was like it was made for two people, a father and a son respectively, how the dad does not want the son to leave and how the son wants to go on his own. Cash's version tries to go for this, but if you ignore Fiona Apple's voice, it unintentionally sounds like a man trying to talk to his son before he dies.
  • His cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song" with Joe Strummer.
  • His cover of "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" with Nick Cave.
  • "Help Me"
  • His cover of Bonnie "Prince" Billy's "I See a Darkness" is heartbreaking.
  • Add "Love's Been Good to Me" (especially the video) and "Give My Love to Rose." Knowing both were recorded after June died makes them even sadder.
    • His cover of Hank Williams' "On The Evening Train" for the same reason.
  • Also, "If You Could Read My Mind" can leave one with a pouty lip and Puppy-Dog Eyes.
  • "Far Side Banks Of Jordan":
    "I'll be waiting on the far-side banks of Jordan
    I'll be sitting, drawing pictures in the sand..."
    • The tear-jerking part, and the incredibly ironic part, is that the song is about what might happen should June die before Johnny. The song was first recorded by them in the early 1970s; no one could have imagined that 30 years later the scenario would play out in real life. As a result, though, fans of Johnny and June find it very difficult to listen to this song, almost on the same level as "Hurt".
  • Then there is "Don't Take Your Guns to Town".
  • "Give My Love to Rose" and "Old Shep" Guaranteed to put tears in your eyes.
  • "We'll Meet Again" for the title alone. The whole song is very touching now.
  • His cover of "Desperado". Oh God, so much more poignant than the Eagles original:
    "Desperado, oh, you ain't getting no younger
    Your pain and your hunger, they're driving you home
    And freedom! Oh, freedom! Well, that's just some people talking...
    Your prison is walking... Through this world all alone."
  • "In My Life".
  • "The Caretaker".
    "But who's gonna cry when old John dies
    Who's gonna cry when old John dies."
  • "A Singer of Songs".
  • The next-to-last verse of "The Legend of John Henry's Hammer" where John gives his hammer to his wife.
  • His cover of "Streets of Laredo". It's a song about the narrator meeting a dying young cowboy.
  • His version of "The Ballad of Ira Hayes."
  • "The Beast In Me".
  • "September When it Comes" was written by Johnny's daughter, Roseanne. They recorded this song together six months before Johnny passed away in September...
  • His death makes "The Man in Black" more than a little bittersweet when you hear the last lines "I'll carry off a little darkness on my back. 'Til things are brighter, I'm the man in black." and know that he never took it off before he died.
  • His Cover of "You Are My Sunshine"
  • As a complete album, with a few exceptions, the entirety of "The Man Comes Around" is a very sad album. "Hurt," "We'll Meet Again," "I Hung My Head," "Give My Love to Rose," etc. etc.
  • Pretty much all of Hundred Highways. It's pretty much his final reflections and goodbyes and fittingly enough closes with a re-recording of "Free From The Chain-Gang Now"
  • No love for "Redemption Day"? Makes the Sheryl Crow version just seem so average in comparison.
  • "Engine 143" was the very last song he recorded, less than three weeks before he died. This song had been a favourite which he'd listened to on the radio when he was a boy in Arkansas.
    • He'd almost totally lost his eyesight and he was in immense pain at this point, which can be heard in his voice. The last two lines (the last words he ever recorded) are especially poignant.
    "His face was covered up with blood;
    His eyes, they could not see
    And the very last words poor Georgie said were
    nearer, my God, to thee."
    • To add to this, he did not record the song for Rick Rubin. He recorded it as a favor to his own son, John Carter Cash, as John Carter was compiling a Carter Family tribute album and his father wanted to give him a song.
  • "Ain't No Grave", particularly the lines about meeting his parents in Heaven.
  • And in his Real Life, the fact that he died a mere four months after losing June has invoked Together in Death in the minds of a lot of fans and friends.