It would be remiss of me to completely overlook the fact that we’ve just passed what would have been Johnny Cash’s 89th birthday.
Here’s his version of the song which lends it’s title to this series. I love the story his daughter Rosanne tells in the wonderful Ken Burns documentary series Country Music, about how, when he wanted to perform the song on his own TV show, the network did not want him to sing the line “Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned”.
“…he argued with them about it,” Rosanne says, “and they put their foot down – ‘You just can’t do that’ – well, Kris [Kristofferson] was in the audience that night, and Dad just couldn’t in good conscience change that word, with the song writer sitting in the audience…When he was performing it, he sang ‘Wishing, Lord, that I was *leans into microphone* STONED’ – emphasis on stoned….Kris was very happy, the network was not.”
Here’s the episode in full; it’s all well worth a watch (as are all of the episodes, most of which appear to be on YouTube), but the bit about today’s song starts at around 1:06:18 if you want to skip to it:
And here’s Cash and Kristofferson, singing it together: