Later this spring, Legacy Recordings will release Johnny Cash: Forever Words, a collaborative album comprising original songs culled from the poems, lyrics and letters of Johnny Cash, and the musical companion to 2016's anthology of the same name. The 16-track set includes a never-before-released recording from late Soundgarden Chris Cornell, who delivered a churning, powerful medley of "You Never Knew My Mind" and "I Never Knew Your Mind," two complementary songs penned by Cash in the Sixties.
Ahead of the collection's April 6th release date, Cornell's adaptation of the 1969 lyrics has been revealed, along with a video of the grunge icon recording the song and discussing how it came to be. "I thought it was kind of brilliant that he'd bother writing a song in its entirety from maybe his own perspective, and then maybe the perspective of the person he's writing about [too]," Cornell says of the double-sided "You Never Knew My Mind."
Johnny Cash's son, John Carter Cash, the album's co-producer and curator, discussed "You Never Knew My Mind" with Zane Lowe in an accompanying Beats 1 interview today, February 26th. "I assume and I'm fairly certain it was written for his first wife, Vivian," he said. "That  was the year that their divorce was legal. It was also the year where his love for my mother [June Carter Cash] flourished. So 'You Never Knew My Mind' was not something that he would have released at that time because my mother was standing beside him."
Later, he described Cornell's connection to the song. "Chris told me that he loved my dad. He also had felt everything that was in those words," he explained. "He had been there. He had gone through the loss of relationships."
Cash has given Cornell props in the past; the late rocker covered Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" for the 1996 album Unchained.
In addition to Cornell's "You Never Knew My Mind," Johnny Cash: Forever Words features adaptations from Elvis Costello, Brad Paisley, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, the Jayhawks and more. You can pre-order it here.