Musical Monday: Cover songs #3

I’m kicking off 2023 with a series of my favourite cover songs. It’s quite amazing how many artists cover one another’s songs and they’re often not artists you might expect! Like this one, a Depeche Mode track covered by Johnny Cash!

To truly understand the greatness of Johnny Cash’s version of Personal Jesus, you have to be pretty familiar with Depeche Mode’s 1990 original (above), which isn’t too shabby itself. All thumping darkness, it explores sexual power dynamics to a clubby yet menacing beat.

Cash’s 2002 cover managed to turn the whole thing on its head with a mere shift in tone and a subdued honky-tonk vibe. Whether this was at the suggestion of producer Rick Rubin or Cash’s doing, it’s revelatory: Jesus himself, Cash tells us, is your personal Jesus. “Pick up the receiver/ I’ll make you a believer,” Cash sings, and the essence is that prayer is your direct—and accessible—line to salvation. Anyone fluent in Cash’s own infamous personal troubles knows that his steadfast faith got him through, and there’s a plainspoken sincerity in Cash’s working of the lyric “Reach out/Touch faith” that makes Dave Gahan’s vocals in the original seem forced. They’re a perfect yin and yang to each other.

15 Comments on “Musical Monday: Cover songs #3

  1. Love this segment, and your choice!

    As a fanatically devoted fan of Depeche Mode And an admirer Johnny Cash I loved his rendition of this song. Dave Gahan (and Martin Gore) have deep voices that resonate with emotion, but Cash takes the song to another level.

    My absolute favorite Cash remake of a song has to be Hurt by Nine Inch Nails. The original is full of pain from a young man’s perspective, but Cash’s version is of an old man near his last days and it makes the song even more poignant.

    I remember hearing it for the 1st time Are you mad for the final season of The Shield. If you’ve ever seen that show, you’ll know how perfect fit that was.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘Musical Monday: Cover songs #3’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  3. Just give me the Depeche Mode version. I’m never sure why Cash is considered a good singer, he basically just talks over simple guitar chords. And the better remix is Marilyn Manson’s version.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gotta say, Cash’s cover of Hurt is one of the most emotional covers I’ve ever heard.

    Also, if you’re a Peter Gabriel fan, check out his Scratch My Back album. He does some amazing covers. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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