Johnny Cash’s Rendition Of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ “Southern Accents” Is An All-Time Great Cover

Johnny Cash country music

Talk about an all-time great cover…

Back in 1996, Johnny Cash included an absolutely incredible cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ hit “Southern Accents” on his 1996 Unchained album.

And in fact, he’s actually backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on that whole record, which features other covers of songs like Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage” and Beck’s “Rowboat,” just to name a couple.

“Southern Accents” was the title track to TPATH’s 1985 sixth studio album, and was also released as the B-side to “Rebels.”

Actually, the song was first recorded when there was friction between the band over what some of the final verses should be and sound like, which led Petty to punch a wall out of frustration, and he ended up breaking his hand in the process.

In general, it’s a tribute to Tom’s southern roots and what he holds dear, and it’s always been on of my favorites in their vast catalog.

Tom Petty told the Los Angeles Times in 2002 that it’s one of his favorites too:

“That may be my favorite among my songs – just in terms of a piece of pure writing. I remember writing it very vividly. It was in the middle of the night and I was playing it on the piano at home in Encino.

I was just singing into my cassette recorder and suddenly these words came out. I was at the point in my career where I was very much trying to find some new ground. I thought I had used up what I had started with and I wanted a new direction.

We had lived in California for about 10 years at that point and I started thinking about growing up in northern Florida, which is a lot different from Miami Beach. It’s close to Georgia and I came from a real Southern family, and I wanted to address that world.

Once I came up with this song, I decided to write an entire album about the theme.”

Of course, Johnny made the song completely his own, and it’s an all-time great cover that I can never, ever get enough of:

“Southern Accents”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock