American IV: The Man Comes Around

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American IV: The Man Comes Around
Studio album by Johnny Cash
Released November 5, 2002
Recorded 2002 At Americans Recording Studios
Genre Country, Americana, rock, gospel
Length 51:55
Language English
Label American Recordings / Universal
Producer Rick Rubin
John Carter Cash
Johnny Cash chronology
Johnny Cash at Madison Square Garden
American IV: The Man Comes Around
American series chronology
American III: Solitary Man
American IV: The Man Comes Around

American IV: The Man Comes Around is the fourth album in the American series by Johnny Cash (and his 87th overall), released in 2002. This is the last album released before his death in 2003. The majority of songs are covers which Cash performs in his own spare style, with help from producer Rick Rubin. For instance, for the song "Personal Jesus", Rubin asked then-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante to re-work an acoustic version of Martin Gore's song, which featured a simple acoustic riff that stripped down the song to a blues style. He receives backing vocal assistance from various artists, including Fiona Apple, Nick Cave, and Don Henley. American IV was the final album Johnny Cash released during his lifetime; though the Unearthed box set was compiled prior to his death (with Cash choosing the tracks - including an early version of "The Man Comes Around" - and writing liner notes), it was not released until two months after he died. It was also his first non-compilation album to go gold (selling over 500,000 copies) in thirty years. Additionally, the album won "Album of the Year" award at the 2003 CMA Awards. It was certified Gold on 4/24/2003 and Platinum on 11/21/2003 by the R.I.A.A.

The video for "Hurt", a song written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails in 1994, was nominated in seven categories at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards and won the award for Best Cinematography. In February 2003, mere days before his 71st birthday, Cash won another Grammy Award for Best Country Male Vocal Performance for "Give My Love To Rose," a song Cash had originally recorded in the late 1950s. The music video for "Hurt" also won a Grammy for Best Short Form Video at the 2004 Awards.

Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor admitted that he was initially "flattered" but worried that "the idea of Cash covering "Hurt" sounded a bit gimmicky," but when he heard the song and saw the video for the first time, Reznor said he was deeply moved and found Cash's cover beautiful and meaningful.[1]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 2.5/5 stars link
Robert Christgau A− link
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars link

Track listings[edit]

Various editions of the album were released. Some include an extra interview disc or a DVD of the video for "Hurt". The original vinyl pressing of the album featured a slightly different track list with two bonus tracks which were later re-released on the box set Unearthed.

  1. "The Man Comes Around" (Cash) – 4:26
  2. "Hurt" (Trent Reznor) – 3:38
    Originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails for The Downward Spiral (1994)
  3. "Give My Love to Rose" (Cash) – 3:28
    Originally recorded by Cash for Sun, appears on Sings Hank Williams (1960), also appears on At Folsom Prison (1968)
  4. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Paul Simon) – 3:55
    Originally recorded by Simon and Garfunkel for Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)
  5. "I Hung My Head" (Sting) – 3:53
    Originally recorded by Sting for Mercury Falling (1996)
  6. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (Ewan MacColl) – 3:52
    Was a number one hit for Roberta Flack (1972)
  7. "Personal Jesus" (Martin Gore) – 3:20
    Originally recorded by Depeche Mode for Violator (1990)
  8. "In My Life" (Lennon–McCartney) – 2:57
    Originally recorded by The Beatles for Rubber Soul (1965)
  9. "Sam Hall" (Tex Ritter) – 2:40
    Originally recorded by Cash for Sings the Ballads of the True West (1965)
  10. "Danny Boy" (Frederick Weatherly) – 3:19
    First published in 1910, previously recorded by Cash for Orange Blossom Special (1965)
  11. "Desperado" (Glenn Frey/Don Henley) – 3:13
    Originally recorded by The Eagles for Desperado (1973)
  12. "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" Duet with Nick Cave (Hank Williams) – 3:03
    Originally recorded by Hank Williams; previously recorded by Cash for Now, There Was a Song! (1960)
  13. "Tear Stained Letter" (Cash) – 3:41
    Originally recorded by Cash for A Thing Called Love (1972)
  14. "Streets of Laredo" – 3:33 (Traditional)
    Previously recorded by Cash for Sings the Ballads of the True West (1965)
  15. "We'll Meet Again" (Hughie Charles/Ross Parker) – 2:58
    Most famously a hit for Vera Lynn (1939)

Original vinyl issue[edit]

Side A
  1. "The Man Comes Around" (Cash) – 4:26
  2. "Hurt" (Reznor) – 3:38
  3. "Give My Love to Rose" (Cash) – 3:28
  4. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon) – 3:55
Side B
  1. "I Hung My Head" (Sting) – 3:53
  2. "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (MacColl) – 3:52
  3. "Personal Jesus" (Gore) – 3:20
  4. "In My Life" (Lennon–McCartney) – 2:57
Side C
  1. "Sam Hall" (Ritter) – 2:40
  2. "Danny Boy" (Weatherly) – 3:19
  3. "Desperado" (Frey/Henley) – 3:13
  4. "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" Duet with Nick Cave (Williams) – 3:03
  5. "Streets of Laredo" – 3:33 (Traditional)
Side D
  1. "Wichita Lineman" (Jimmy Webb)
    Originally recorded by Glen Campbell for Wichita Lineman (1968)
  2. "Big Iron" (Marty Robbins)
    Originally recorded by Marty Robbins for Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs (1959)
  3. "Tear Stained Letter" (Cash) – 3:41
  4. "We'll Meet Again" (Hughie Charles/Ross Parker) – 2:58


Additional personnel[edit]

  • Rick Rubin - producer
  • John Carter Cash - producer, engineer
  • Thom Russo, Andrew Scheps, Chuck Turner - engineers
  • Vladimir Meller - mastering
  • Christine Cano - art direction, design
  • Martyn Atkins - photography
  • Lindsay Chase - production coordination
  • Dwight Hume, Jimmy Tittle - production assistants

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2002) Peak
U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums 2
U.S. Billboard 200 22

In popular culture[edit]


  • ^ Alternative Press #194. September, 2004.