Johnny Cash nixed “Imagine”?

From a review of the new Johnny Cash album American VI: Ain’t No Grave:

The success in large part on this sixth collection, as with the entire series, comes down to song selection, which [producer Rick] Rubin has overseen with excellent taste. Talk about a dream job: Thinking up cool songs for Johnny Cash to cover. And Cash was an incredible trooper over the ten-year period that Rubin recorded him, taking on everything from country to metal to pop standards with equal alacrity. Cash only rarely refused a tune, recording over a hundred different songs for the first in the series, American Recordings, alone. (Exception: Cash wouldn’t sing “Imagine” because he couldn’t get behind John Lennon’s wouldn’t-it-be-awesome-if-no-one-believed-in-God sentiment.)

The idea of Johnny Cash refusing to sing that overplayed treacle is very appealing to me. Anyway, the album is indeed great.

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One thought on “Johnny Cash nixed “Imagine”?

  1. The popularity of “Imagine” in a nation of believers always surprised me.

    And the idea that an atheist society would necessarily be better, or better off, than the world of believers we know around us is, anyway, about as stupid as most popular “radical” ideas of the same era.

    Cash’s refusal to sing “Imagine” certainly is not a surprise, though.

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