Is This Johnny Cash Song About Zombies?

“There ain’t no grave can hold my body down.”

I tell you, the moment I heard those lyrics I thought Zombie. I know a fair amount about Cash and his music (all the more surprising, then, that I’d not heard this song before today) so of course I knew this song had to be about the Afterlife as oppose to the Aftermath, but my brain is hard wired to translate certain things into their fantastic equivalent.

So naturally I wanted to share this take on such a great song. A quick search showed that I’m not the first to make the connection, and frankly I’d be surprised if I were. I was expecting more than one fan-made video with this song put to some zombie imagery, though.

I love Ain’t No Grave. It’s a great Johnny Cash song. I dig how the opening guitar sounds like a slowed down version of Zepplin’s Going to California, too. As for the zombie-connection; check out the drag-and-stomp percussion that threads its way throughout the song and you won’t have any trouble imagining the walking dead. In fact… when you consider the deliberate addition of that sound, and these lyrics…

“When I hear that trumpet sound I’m gonna rise right out of the ground”

This song is supposed to be about the Rapture – you know, the belief held by some Christians that right around the kick-off to Armageddon they will rise from the dead and up into the air, and from there to Heaven:

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first / Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

But perhaps Cash’s rising out of the ground refers to something more sinister… after all, why after the ‘rise from the ground’ part would he sing “Well, look way down the river, what do you think I see? I see a band of angels and they’re coming after me.

Sounds like the angels are doing a little housekeeping to me. I wonder what would happen if we played this song backwards…

Whether you are hoping to Rapture your way out of dealing with the Aftermath, or you need some solemn and soul-touching tune to play in the background while you pick through nuclear ruble, or you’re looking for some personal theme music to accompany your eternal shuffling search for brains, give the song a listen below, and enjoy.

[Speaking of Walking Dead, it sounds like the show is going to live up to expectations.]

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One thought on “Is This Johnny Cash Song About Zombies?

  1. Pingback: Headshots Come Easy – New Clip of The Walking Dead « The Aftermath Project

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