Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down

Lyrics:

[Chorus 1]
You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner of later, God’ll cut you down

[Chorus 2]
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down
Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down

[Verse 1]
Well my goodness gracious let me tell you the news
My head’s been wet with the midnight dew
I’ve been down on bended knee talkin’ to the man from Galilee
He spoke to me in the voice so sweet
I thought I heard the shuffle of the angel’s feet
He called my name and my heart stood still
When he said “John go do My will!”

[Chorus 2]
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down
Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down

[Chorus 1]
You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner of later, God’ll cut you down

[Verse 2]
Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s done in the dark will be brought to the light

[Chorus 1]
You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner of later, God’ll cut you down

[Chorus 2]
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down
Tell them that God’s going to cut ’em down

Music video by Johnny Cash performing God’s Gonna Cut You Down. (C) 2006 American Recordings, LLC & The Island Def Jam Music Group

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 was later sampled heavily for the 1999 song “Run On” by Moby.

Johnny Cash cover

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.[3]

A music video, directed by Tony Kaye,[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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 Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Cody Allen as his entrance theme.[7]

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.[8]

The song is also used by Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Convictions Launch TrailerSplinter Cell: Conviction.

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 used as the opening and closing theme in Chris White’s documentary Debunking Jordan Maxwell, The Movie Jordanus Maximus[9]

Chart positions

Chart (2006)Peak
position
UK Singles Chart77

Other artists

American singer and civil rights activist Odetta recorded a version of the song in the style of a 19th-century revival meeting preaching hymn.[10] Rock singer Marilyn Manson performed a live rendition of the song during 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[11]

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