WATCH: Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr. Honor Johnny Cash in Memorial Tribute Concert

by Keeli Parkey

Following his death in September 2003, some of the biggest names in music came together to pay tribute to Johnny Cash. Among the artists showing the “Man in Black” some well-deserved respect were Kid Rock and Hank Williams, Jr.

The event was called the “Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute” and it was produced by CMT. The special event aired on Nov. 15, 2003. It was filmed at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on Nov. 10 of that year. Cash was 71 years old at the time of his death on Sept. 12, 2003. His cause of death was complications from diabetes, according to reports.

When CMT announced the special concert event, CMT senior vice president/general manager Brian Philips shared the following statement:

“What a privilege for CMT to telecast the Johnny Cash tribute. This will be a communal celebration of a rich and brilliant life, connecting the intimate Ryman gathering with the world of music fans who love and respect Johnny Cash.”

According to, other performers who took part in the Johnny Cash Memorial Tribute concert included Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Rodney Crowell, Sheryl Crow, Steve Earle, John Mellencamp, Dwight Yoakam, Travis Tritt, and Marty Stuart.

Kid Rock, Hank Williams Jr. Perform ‘There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang’ During Johnny Cash Tribute Concert

So, how did Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr. decide to honor Johnny Cash? Well, they chose to sing his song “There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang.”

According to, Cash originally recorded this song in 1978. It was a duet with fellow country superstar Waylon Jennings. The story the song tells comes from the point of view of a prison inmate. The man is writing to his family about his prison experiences. Also, the song was a hit and made it all the way to the second spot on the Billboard charts.

Cash and Jennings were very good friends. And, at one time in their lives they even shared an apartment together. So, it’s fitting that good friends Hank Williams Jr. and Kid Rock paid tribute to Johnny Cash by singing a song he shared with a close friend.

Before Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr. begin their performance of “There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang,” Kid Rock shared a message with the audience.

“Just before we start, real fast I would like to share one thing,” Kid Rock said. “I did not know Johnny as well as I’m sure a lot of people in here have. …” The singer goes on to say that by watching Cash’s children handle his death with class and respect he learned a lot about the man Johnny Cash was.

You can watch Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr. give their Johnny Cash tribute performance below.