Johnny Cash’s ‘She Used to Love Me a Lot’ Video Calls Out Inequality
Director John Hillcoat pays tribute to the Man in Black and the less fortunate
Johnny Cash was a true man of the people, an attitude he summed up in the lyric “I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down.” He backed it up, too, most notably advocating for humane treatment of prisoners, a cause helped by recording his famed Folsom Prison and San Quentin live albums for audiences of inmates. Cash’s connection with the downtrodden is perfectly visualized in the video for “She Used to Love Me a Lot,” the lead single from his “lost” ’80s album Out Among the Stars. Directed by John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless), the mostly black-and-white clip depicts ramshackle houses, prisons, housing projects, and desolate landscapes alongside some imagery of Cash. Tellingly, there’s also a Wall Street sign. As Hillcoat said in a statement:
The lyrics seemed to speak to America as it is now, to the nation that loved him and to the great divide he fought so hard against. This divide has only grown exponentially since he died, so we wanted to show America under this stark light and as a homage to the very reason Cash always wore black: to the shameful increase of the disenfranchised and outsiders. At the same time, we wanted to reference the great man’s own struggle and journey from the love of his life to the burnt out ruins of his infamous lake house home, personal photographs, the cave where he tried to take his life but then turned it all around, the place he last recorded in and his last photo before his passing.
Out Among the Stars, an album that was shelved in the ’80s and was only recently discovered by Cash’s son, is due out March 25 via Legacy Recordings.