Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash
Known as the man in black Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland Arkansas February 26th , 1932.The son of a Southern Baptist sharecropper he began performing as early as age 12. In 1955 he began recording for Sam Phillips “Sun” records. Known as “Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two” (guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant) his first single was “Cry Cry Cry” which reached #14. The follow-up was “Folsom Prison Blues” which reached number #5. The following year he released his most enduring song that would establish him as a superstar. The million selling copy “I Walk The Line”. He left Sun records in 1958 because Sam Phillips wouldn’t let him record a gospel album. He signed with Columbia records where he would remain until the label dropped him in 1986. The sixties began his “wild-man” period where he ran rampant hopped-up on booze and uppers. He then met June Carter of the famous Carter Family who got him off the drugs(hhmmm….bummer) , although there would be relapses. She also wrote “Ring Of Fire” which became another big hit for Cash. I had the original 45rpm on red vinyl but I smashed it up when I turned 15 and got my first Alice Cooper album.The two were married in 1968 and released a series of duets together : “Jackson”,”If I Were a Carpenter” and Dylan’s “ It Ain’t Me Babe”. The highlight of his career was his two live albums, 1968’s “At Folsom Prison” and 1969’s “Johnny Cash: At San Quentin” which was Cash’s best selling album staying number one on the charts for 4 weeks and contained the hit single “A Boy Named Sue” (#2). In June of 1969 ABC launched “The Johnny Cash Show” which lasted 2 years. At this point’s Cash’s popularity began to wane although he was still revered by country and rock alike. In 1985 Cash resurfaced with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings as “The Highwaymen”. They recorded 4 albums together. In 1996 Tom Petty produced his “Unchained “ album. By now health problems began to plague Cash though he continued to record. His last album is considered a masterpiece “American III: Solitary Man”. In May of 2003 his wife of 35 years “June Carter Cash” cashed it in. Some say this zapped his will to live. On September 12th , 2003 Johnny Cash died in Nashville at the age of 71 due to complications from Diabetes. Johnny Cash remains a legend, a country and rock pioneer and a symbol of the undying American spirit. “The Man in Black” was buried in a black coffin.

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