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This was written by Johnny Cash's former stepson-in-law Nick Lowe. The English singer-songwriter originally recorded the song on his 1994 The Impossible Bird album, but he had the song in his locker for years previously.
Lowe told Mojo April 2009 about Cash's version of his song: "He came round to hear it with his entourage and it wasn't really finished. I was so embarrassed to play him this song with his roadies, nannies and June (Carter Cash) crammed into our little sitting room that I never wanted to hear this song ever again. But he said that it was a really good idea - but not quite right. The problem was that the first verse was so great and says absolutely everything: you try and take it somewhere else and it doesn't want to go: it sounds like a thin version of what you've already said. One time he was playing at the Albert Hall, and he'd always call me and get me to come and do a tune with him. I had really mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I was ever so pleased and proud that, even though me and Carlene weren't together any more, we were still friends. On the other hand, I was a Johnny Cash fan and I knew how I would feel if I'd gone to see him at the Albert Hall and some bloomin' bloke who you could see for two bob down the road got up with him; get this guy off! I told him this, and he couldn't believe it, laughed his head off-it sounded like distant thunder! Nonetheless, he said, 'It's too late now, you've got to get up and do a couple of tunes.' That was the last time. He also asked about The Beast In Me, and for some reason something clicked and the thing just rolled out-12 years after he'd first heard it. I recorded it very basically, the version on The Impossible Bird, and sent it to him. When he sent me a copy of American Recordings I was absolutely thrilled. It really is a good song, and the fact that he dug it so much is something to be really proud of."
This song played over the closing credits of the pilot episode of the HBO TV series The Sopranos.
American Recordings was ranked #364 in Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums.
American Recordings won the award for Best Contemporary Folk Album of the Year at the 1994 Grammy Awards.
The dogs photographed on the American Recordings album sleeve were called Tess (on the left) and Ted (on the right).