What I’m Listening to 02/08/2017: “I Hung My Head”

This is one of my favorite songs. Writing about this has been long overdue.

Song: “I Hung My Head”

Composer: Gordon Sumner a.k.a Sting

Album: Mercury Falling, Symphonicities

Notable Cover Artists: Johnny Cash

Author’s Note: NO IMAGES ARE MY OWN.

1863 Sharps Carbine .54 Caliber, this is the weapon I picture as Jeb’s rifle.


“Early One Morning With Time To Kill”


“I borrowed Jeb’s rifle and sat on the hill….”


“I drew a bead on him to practice my aim..”


“It went off for no reason just one piece of lead…”


Johnny Cash’s version of a ballad concerning a negligent discharge of a firearm is haunting and powerful. This is obviously what you would expect from him. The subject of the song did something pathetic. He claims the rifle ‘went off,’ that’s not how guns work. His dumb decision would have malignant effects in his life.

“And then it came to me just what I had done… I hung my head.”

Cochise County Courthouse: Tombstone, Arizona 

“Here in the courthouse, the whole town was there, I see the judge high up in his chair. Explain to the courtroom what went through your mind, and we’ll ask the jury what verdict they find.”

Roy Bean, a notorious judge in the old west.

Blue Highway provides an uptempo but quality cover of the song.

Mykola Poberezhny does a version of the song that is folky and emotionally ferocious.

Sting’s lyrics combined with his bright vocals give this grim ballad a touch of clarity. This is the kind of ballad where you feel for the subject. Sting’s version may be the original, but I think Cash is the winner hands down.

“I pray for God’s mercy for soon I’ll be dead…”


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