Johnny Cash knew too well how to hold on to the songs and the people he loved. Among these songs was Bob Dylan’s “One Too Many Mornings,” which he covered numerous times. In 1986, he released a new “One Too Many Mornings” off his album Heroes with another country legend, Waylon Jennings.
Cash and Jennings had been recording songs together for a long time. The two first met in the mid-sixties. It happened when Cash had fallen in love with June Carter; however, he could not move in with her because her divorce was not yet final. So, to be close to Carter, Cash rented a one-bedroom apartment in Madison, Tennessee, with Jennings.
“It was like a sitcom; we were the original ‘Odd Couple,'” Jennings wrote in his memoir. “I was supposed to clean up, and John was the one doing the cooking. If I’d be in one room polishing, he’d be in the other room making a mess…making himself a mess.”
In 1978, during Jennings’s superstar success as a key figure in the outlaw country movement, the pair scored a No. 2 hit duet with “There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang.” The duo had also worked with Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson to form the highly successful Highwaymen.
The Song Johnny Cash Recorded One Too Many Times
Written by Bob Dylan, “One Too Many Mornings” is a song of lost love.
“From the crossroads of my doorstep, my eyes, they start to fade as I turn my head back to the room where my love and I have laid. An’ I gaze back to the street, the sidewalk, and the sign, and I’m one too many mornings an’ a thousand miles behind,” the song goes.
Dylan first released it off his third studio album The Times They Are a-Changin’ in 1964. Indeed, the song was already in the background of Cash’s career for a while. In 1969, Cash joined Dylan in Nashville for the famed recording sessions that produced Nashville Skyline’s opening track: a duet rendition of “Girl From The North Country.” During those same recording sessions, Cash and Dylan recorded “One Too Many Mornings” twice.
Cash once again recorded the song from his 1978 album Johnny & June.
Six years later, in late 1984, Cash assembled the supergroup that would become The Highwaymen – together with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson – while recording a Christmas special in Montreux, Switzerland. A little over a year after that, Cash released another “One Too Many Mornings” on his album Heroes with the newly minted Highwayman Waylon Jennings.
In 2014, eleven years after Cash’s death, Kristofferson and Nelson — who had been left at the roadside for the Heroes version — added their own vocals to the track. The new version stripped away the grating strings and choral vocals of Cash and Jennings’ original recording. Still, it remained a delightfully cheesy piece of the ’80s mainstream country.
You can listen to Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings’ breathtaking duet of “One Too Many Mornings” in the video below.
Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings