Although I originally loved this song through Cale's version, I eventually came to appreciate the tender guitar work and emotional intensity in the delivery of Jeff Buckley. This song made for a perfect beating heart for his album.
Even later in my life I came to appreciate Cohen's version, mostly through appreciating the gravitas the words will have when uttered by the man who penned them. I find some production choices in the original contestable but what the heck, it's all in the past.
Nick Cave is probably my most listened to musician but I still gotta give this to Cash. As perfect as the original is, Johnny as always makes the track his own, with his gravely voice and the earthshaking piano and organ outro standing out.