As Long as the Grass Shall Grow

Album: Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian (1962)
Play Video


  • This is the opening track of Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, a concept album released by Cash focusing the harsh and unfair treatment of Native Americans in the US. Part of the inspiration for Cash had been his belief that he had Cherokee ancestry, but years later, after researching his family tree, he discovered his ancestors actually came from Britain and Ireland.
  • Bob Dylan wrote the music and performed "The Grass Shall Grow" at a 1962 Carnegie Hall "hootenanny" hosted by Pete Seeger as a means of introducing new talent. Dylan has yet to get round to recording the song.
  • Dylan's Greenwich village colleague, folk singer Peter La Farge penned the lyrics. They concern the flooding of the Allegheny Resevoir and the ensuing loss of Seneca nation land on the Pennsylvania/New York border in the early 1960s. La Farge later wrote and recorded his own version of the song as "The Senecas (As Long as The Grass shall Grow)."
  • Cash re-recorded the song decades later as a duet with June Carter Cash. He altered the lyrics to describe his relationship with and devotion to his duet partner. The track itself can be found on his 2003 boxset Unearthed.

Comments: 1

  • Allen J. Gilbert from PennsyltuckyThis article credits Bob Dylan with writing "The Grass Shall Grow". I love and respect Bob Dylan for 50 years. That being said, was it Pete LaFarge or Bob Dylan that wrote the song? Did they collaborate? Was this another Rock Me Momma/Wagon Wheel deal? Please advise?
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went Mainstream

Jesus In Pop Hits: The Gospel Songs That Went MainstreamSong Writing

These overtly religious songs crossed over to the pop charts, despite resistance from fans, and in many cases, churches.

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song Spoofs

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song SpoofsSong Writing

When singers started spoofing their own songs on Sesame Street, the results were both educational and hilarious - here are the best of them.

Emmylou Harris

Emmylou HarrisSongwriter Interviews

She thinks of herself as a "song interpreter," but back in the '80s another country star convinced Emmylou to take a crack at songwriting.

Real or Spinal Tap

Real or Spinal TapMusic Quiz

They sang about pink torpedoes and rocking you tonight tonight, but some real lyrics are just as ridiculous. See if you can tell which lyrics are real and which are Spinal Tap in this lyrics quiz.

How The Beatles Crafted Killer Choruses

How The Beatles Crafted Killer ChorusesSong Writing

The author of Help! 100 Songwriting, Recording And Career Tips Used By The Beatles, explains how the group crafted their choruses so effectively.

American Hits With Foreign Titles

American Hits With Foreign TitlesSong Writing

What are the biggest US hits with French, Spanish (not "Rico Suave"), Italian, Scottish, Greek, and Japanese titles?