Sting Recalls His First Reaction To Johnny Cash Covering His Song

In a recent interview with People, Sting shared details about his initial response when Johnny Cash covered one of his songs. The rocker reflected on Cash’s rendition’s impact on him personally.

Sting revealed that he was deeply moved by the storytelling element present in Cash’s songs. His appreciation for narrative-driven music inspired him to explore similar themes in his own compositions. Despite being from the North of England, Sting found himself drawn to the storytelling aspect of the genre. So when Cash decided to cover Sting’s song ‘I Hung My Head’ in 2002, he expressed a sense of validation for his artistic attempts.

Sting’s words about Johnny Cash covering his songs read:

“The storytelling in those songs really had a profound effect on me, so I would try to write songs in that genre. But with me, it’s a question of authenticity. I’m from the North of England; I’m not from El Paso or somewhere romantic like that. But nonetheless, I like the storytelling aspect of country music. I like the biblical sweep of the landscape. So when somebody like Johnny Cash covers one of my songs, I feel vindicated somewhat.”

The song’s country vibe goes back to Sting’s love for Hank Williams, who he saw as a mentor, not to mention his childhood fascination with TV Westerns like ‘Bonanza.’ This made Sting appreciate Johnny’s version even more since his interest in storytelling combined with his childhood obsession came together in the form of a cover.