God's Gonna Cut You Down

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"God's Gonna Cut You Down", also known as "Run On" and "Run On for a Long Time", is a traditional folk song which has been recorded by numerous artists representing a variety of genres. The lyrics are a warning to sinners that no matter how hard they try, they will not avoid God's judgment.

The song has, over time, been modified to fit the boundaries of diverse genres like country, folk, gospel, techno, and black metal.[1] As "God's Gonna Cut You Down", it was performed by Odetta on Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues (1956) and Johnny Cash on the posthumously released American V: A Hundred Highways (2006). As "Run On", it was recorded, among others, by Elvis Presley. The song has also been covered by many other artists. A version by Bill Landford & The Landfordairs from 1949 [2] was later sampled heavily for the 1999 song "Run On" by Moby.

Johnny Cash cover[edit]

"God's Gonna Cut You Down"
Single by Johnny Cash
from the album American V: A Hundred Highways
ReleasedJuly 4, 2006
GenreCountry,[3] folk,[4] gospel[5]
LabelAmerican Recordings
Lost Highway Records
Producer(s)Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash singles chronology
"God's Gonna Cut You Down"
"Help Me"

Johnny Cash recorded a version of "God's Gonna Cut You Down" on American V: A Hundred Highways in 2003, with an arrangement quite different from most known gospel versions of the song.[citation needed] The song has sold 672,000 copies in the United States as of January 2016.[6]

A music video, directed by Tony Kaye,[7] was made for this version in late 2006, three years after Cash's death. The video was shot entirely in black and white and features a number of celebrities: David Allan Coe, Patricia Arquette, Travis Barker, Peter Blake, Bono, Sheryl Crow, Johnny Depp, the Dixie Chicks, Flea, Billy Gibbons, Whoopi Goldberg, Woody Harrelson, Dennis Hopper, Terrence Howard, Jay-Z, Mick Jones, Kid Rock, Anthony Kiedis, Kris Kristofferson, Amy Lee, Adam Levine, Shelby Lynne, Chris Martin, Kate Moss, Graham Nash, Busy Philipps, Iggy Pop, Lisa Marie Presley, Q-Tip, Corinne Bailey Rae, Keith Richards, Chris Rock, Rick Rubin, Patti Smith, Sharon Stone, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, Brian Wilson and Owen Wilson.[8]

In the FOX TV series Gotham, this version of the song can be heard at the beginning of the episode "What the Little Birdie Told Him", while Jack Gruber is walking to Irwin's Electronics.[9] It also features in the NBC TV series The Blacklist, in the episode "The Director: Conclusion", and in the CBC series Republic of Doyle, where it closed episode 10 of season 2, "The Special Detective".

The song is used by Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Cody Allen as well as Kansas City Royals closer Brad Boxberger as entrance music.[10] In Independent baseball, Tyler Nordgren of the Ottawa Champions also uses this song as his walk-up song.

The song is featured in the single-player campaign of Battlefield 3, and a version of Cash's performance that was remixed by Ninja Tracks is used in the Gamescom gameplay trailer for Battlefield 1.[11]

The song is also used by the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction Launch Trailer.

The "Mondkopf Plus de Sommeil" remix of Cash's performance appeared in an ad campaign for the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (WK2).

The song is also used in the Frostpunk Official Release Date Trailer - "Serenity".[12]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
UK Singles Chart 77

Other artists[edit]

Bill Landford and the Landfordairs recorded "Run On For a Long Time" (2:34) (recorded December 15, 1949, in Memphis, Tennessee)[13]

American singer and civil rights activist Odetta recorded a version of the song in the style of a 19th-century revival meeting preaching hymn.[14] Rock singer Marilyn Manson performed it on his "Heaven Upside Down" tour in 2017.

Kevin Lovatt covered this song and it appeared on the soundtrack of the 2016 film The Hollow Point during the closing credits[15]

Elvis Presley performed the song under the title "Run On - take 6," on the Gospels Special album entitled Alternate Masters Vol.3.

Bobbie Gentry performed a version of the song, titled "Sermon," on her 1968 album The Delta Sweete.

Mercury Rev re-recorded Gentry's album in 2019. Their version of "Sermon" features vocals by Margo Price.


  1. ^ "God's Gonna Cut You Down (Johnny Cash cover), by Panzerfaust". Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  2. ^ https://www.whosampled.com/Bill-Landford/Run-on-for-a-Long-Time/
  3. ^ "9 MLB All-Stars & Their Country Music Walk-Up Songs". 21 March 2016. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  4. ^ http://nodepression.com/article/johnny-cash-and-many-versions-gods-gonna-cut-you-down
  5. ^ https://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/9934-ultimate-gospel/
  6. ^ Bjorke, Matt (January 25, 2016). "The Top 30 Digital Country Singles: January 25, 2016". Roughstock.
  7. ^ by (7 November 2006). "Tony Kaye No Longer Just History". Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  8. ^ Johnny Cash: God's Gonna Cut You Down (Video 2006) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb
  9. ^ Abrams, Simon (19 January 2015). "Gotham Recap: Finally, a Decent Episode!". Vulture. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Cleveland Indians Ballpark Music". Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Battlefield 1 Official Gamescom Gameplay Trailer". Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  12. ^ 11 bit studios (2018-03-09), FROSTPUNK | Official Release Date Trailer - "Serenity", retrieved 2018-03-31
  13. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Bill-Landford-The-Landfordaires-Run-On-For-A-Long-Time/release/10784938
  14. ^ "Review". Liguorian. The Redemptorist Fathers. 63: 68. 1975. In a marvelous new album of recorded folk songs (Vanguard Recording Co.), a gifted folk singer, Odetta, sings, 'God's A-gonna Cut You Down!' It is a powerful warning, in the style of the 'preaching hymn' of the old-time revivals and camp meetings which were such an important feature of frontier life during the entire 19th century.
  15. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2918606/soundtrack?ref_=tt_trv_snd

External links[edit]