Johnny Cash recorded "Personal Jesus" for his 2002 album American IV. Producer Rick Rubin asked Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante to re-work an acoustic version of Martin Gore's song, which featured a simple acoustic riff that stripped down the song to a blues style. Frusciante plays guitar on the track, along with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell.
The original "Personal Jesus" is Depeche Mode's 23rd UK single, released on 29 August 1989, and the first single from the album Violator. The single reached No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart and No. 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was the first single to make the US Top 40 for the band since their 1984 single "People Are People" and was their first gold-certified single in the US (quickly followed by the band's subsequent single, "Enjoy the Silence"). In Germany, the single is one of the band's longest charting song, staying on the country's singles chart for 23 weeks.
In 2004, "Personal Jesus" was ranked No. 368 in Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time", and in September 2006 it was voted as one of the "100 Greatest Songs Ever" in Q magazine.
"Personal Jesus" was re-released as a single on 30 May 2011 for the new Depeche Mode remix album Remixes 2: 81–11, with the leading remix by the production team Stargate.
Since its release, the song has been covered by numerous artists including Gravity Kills, Marilyn Manson, Sammy Hagar, Jerry Williams, Lollipop Lust Kill, Nina Hagen, Richard Cheese, and Johnny Cash.