Johnny Cash

The Ballad of Ira Hayes

Song Review by

A ballad of the American Indian, "The Ballad Of Ira Hayes" is about a member of the 'Pema' Indian, a brave warrior who's family was uprooted by the white man and who's water rights were taken away. However, the protagonist was Ira Hays, who actually turned the other cheek and enlisted in World War One. Despite the fact that Hayes was a war hero (one of the soldiers who held up the flag at Iwo Jima), he ended up dying in un-celebratory fashion, drunk and in a white man's jail. In many ways, it illustrates just how badly the white man treated the Indian. Cash's version of the tragic events makes it a true classic in the American folk tradition. An excellent version has been unveiled on 2002's Johnny Cash At Madison Square Garden from the December 1969 concert.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Bitter Tears (Ballads of the American Indian) 1964 Legacy / Columbia 4:07
Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 1967 Columbia 4:11
Give My Love to Rose [Harmony] 1972 Harmony
Biggest Hits 1984 CBS Records
Columbia Records 1958-1986 1987 Columbia 4:06
No Image 1987 CBS Records
We the People 1987 4:53
Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series 1988 Def Jam / Island / Mercury 2:53
Patriot 1990 CBS Records 0:00
No Image 1991 Bear Family Records 4:10
Come Along and Ride This Train 1991 Bear Family Records 4:10
Many Sides of Johnny Cash 1991 Sony Music Distribution 4:05
Hello, I'm Johnny Cash [Sony Special Products] 1992 Sony Music Distribution 4:10
The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 1992 Sony Music Distribution 4:07
Hits [1993] 1993 Sony Music Distribution 4:08
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
Ring of Fire/Blood Sweat & Tears/Ballads of American Indians [box] 1995 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 4:07
Outlaws of Country [Lifetimes] 1995
Various Artists
Life Times & Music 4:05
Ultimate 1996 Bransounds 2:54
The Man in Black: 1963-1969 1996 Bear Family Records 3:25
The Rebel 1997 Ariola Express
16 Biggest Hits 1999 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 4:08
Man in Black: His Greatest Hits 1999 Columbia / Legacy 4:08
Ballad of Ira Hayes 1999 Goldies 3:51
No Image 2000 Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 4:08
The Collection [Madacy 1CD] 2000 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 4:08
Simply the Best 2001 Columbia 4:09
Collection [Madacy Box] 2001 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 4:08
No Image 2002 S & P Records
The Essential Johnny Cash 2002 Legacy / Columbia 4:07
All American Country 2003 Polygram / Karussell 2:52
Life 2004 Columbia 4:09
The Man, His World, His Music [DVD] [2005] 2005 Sanctuary
The Legendary 2005 Spectrum Music 2:52
The Legend of Johnny Cash, Vol. 2 2006 Island / Johnny Cash GH / Mdi 4:09
Sings the Ballads of the True West/Life 2006 Sony BMG 4:09
Silver Collection 2007 Universal Distribution 2:54
Best of Johnny Cash: Green Series 2008 Universal International 2:53
Hit Collection 2008 Sony BMG 4:09
Greatest Hits [Steel Box Collection] 2008 Commercial Canada / Sony Music Distribution 4:08
Best of Johnny Cash, Vol. 2: Superstar Series 2009 Strategic Marketing 2:54
A Lone Star State of Mind 2018 All Access 3:08