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1. Foreword page 3

2. Life page 4

2.1. Who was Johnny Cash? page 4

2.2. Early Life page 5

2.3. Vivian Lamberto page 7

2.4. June Carter page 7

3. Career page 8

3.1. The Beginning page 8

3.2. Outlaw Image page 10

3.3. Folsom Prison Blues page 13

3.4. The Johnny Cash Show page 14

3.5. “The Man in Black” page 15

3.6. Cash’s Mediatic Activity page 16

3.6. Highwaymen page 17

3.7. American Recordings page 19

4. Last Years and Death page 20

5. “Walk the Line” page 22

6. Fans About Cash page 23

7. Conclusion page 24

8. Bibliography page 25

Text Box: Foreword

It happened some time ago when I fell in love with Johnny Cash. Back then I had never heard of him, since he has never been as popular as Elvis Presley or Bob Dylan, especially in our country. As I was saying, about two years ago, I watched the film called “Walk the Line”, the biographical drama based on the life of the singer. I could not describe how much I liked the film, as I watched it over and over again many times. I have to say that I was very moved and impressed by Johnny Cash’s story and the way he went through his life, building a remarkable career.

“Walk the Line” made me do more research about Johnny Cash and, this way, I have found out how much people love him. Moreover, I have found that, in spite of his rock star attitude and dangerous behaviour that defined his early life as a singer, Johnny Cash never stopped being an honest and loving man, and most of all, he never lost his belief in God.

The thing I like most about Cash is that, although he is a man of contardiction, he always managed to undermine his crimes and unethical acts with his charming personality and his clean heart. He used to be (and still is) called “The Man in Black” because he always wore black clothes when he was on the scene. Some say that Johnny always wore black because he identified himself with the poor. He sometimes said that he wore black because didn’t have something else to wear. I believe that he wore black to express his modesty and his solidarity to the less gifted ones.

I would have to add that I find Cash’s music very pleasant and I enjoy listening to it. I really think that it is the feelings that he renders through his songs and lyrics that make his music be so inspirational.

My reason for choosing Johnny Cash’s life and career as the main theme for my project is my passion for country music that Johnny Cash has woken in my heart.

Who was Johnny Cash?

Johnny Cash was an American singer and songwriter and one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Primarily a country music artist, his songs and sound spanned many other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll (especially early in his career), as well as blues, folk and gospel.

Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice, the 'chicka-boom' freight train sound of his Tennessee Three backing band, his demeanor, and his dark clothing, which earned him the nickname 'The Man in Black'. He traditionally started his concerts with the introduction 'Hello, I'm Johnny Cash'.

Much of Cash's music, especially that of his later career, echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, and redemption. His signature songs include 'I Walk the Line', 'Folsom Prison Blues', 'Ring of Fire', 'Get Rhythm', 'Hurt' and 'Man in Black'. He also recorded humorous songs, such as 'One Piece at a Time' and 'A Boy Named Sue', a duet with June Carter called 'Jackson', as well as railroad songs such as 'Hey Porter' and 'Rock Island Line.'

Early Life

Johnny Cash was born at February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas to Ray and Carrie Cash. He was reportedly given the name 'J.R.' because his parents could not agree on a name, only on initials. When he enlisted in the United States Air Force, the military would not accept initials as his name, so he adopted John R. Cash as his legal name. In 1955, when signing with Sun Records, he took Johnny Cash as his stage name. His friends and in-laws generally called him John, while his blood relatives usually continued to call him J.R.

By the age of five, J.R. was working in the cotton fields, singing along with his family as they worked. The family farm was flooded on at least one occasion, which later inspired him to write the song 'Five Feet High and Rising'. His family's economic and personal struggles during the Depression inspired many of his songs, especially those about other people facing similar difficulties.

Cash was one of seven children: Jack, Joanne Cash Yates, Louise Garrett, Reba Hancock, Roy, and Tommy. His younger brother, Tommy Cash, also became a successful country artist.

Cash was very close to his brother Jack, who was two years older. In 1944, Jack was pulled into a whirling table saw in the mill where he worked, and cut almost in two. He suffered for over a week before he died. Cash often spoke of the horrible guilt he felt over this incident. According to Cash: The Autobiography, his father was away that morning, but he and his mother, and Jack himself, all had premonitions or a sense of foreboding about that day, causing his mother to urge Jack to skip work and go fishing with his brother. Jack insisted on working, as the family needed the money. On his deathbed, Jack said he had visions of heaven and angels. Decades later, Cash spoke of looking forward to meeting his brother in heaven. He wrote that he had seen his brother many times in his dreams, and that Jack always looked two years older than whatever age Cash himself was at that moment.

Cash's early memories were dominated by gospel music and radio. Taught by his mother and a childhood friend, Johnny began playing guitar and writing songs as a young boy. In high school he sang on a local radio

station; decades later he released an album of traditional gospel songs, called My Mother's Hymn Book. He was also significantly influenced by traditional Irish music that he heard performed weekly by Dennis Day on the Jack Benny radio program.

Cash enlisted in the United States Air Force. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base and technical training at Brooks Air Force Base, both in San Antonio, Texas, Cash was assigned to a U.S. Air Force Security Service unit, assigned as a morse code decoder on Russian Army transmissions, at Landsberg, Germany. On July 3, 1954, he was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant. Then, he returned to Texas.

Vivian Lamberto

On July 18, 1951, while in Air Force training, Cash met 17 year-old Vivian Liberto at a roller skating rink in her native San Antonio, Texas. They dated for three weeks, until Cash was deployed to Germany for a three year tour. During that time, the couple exchanged hundreds of pages of love letters.

On August 7, 1954, one month after his discharge, they were married at St. Anne's Catholic church in San Antonio. They had four daughters: Rosanne (born May 24, 1955), Kathy (born April 16, 1956), Cindy (born July 29, 1958), and Tara (born August 24, 1961). But Cash's drug and alcohol abuse, constant touring, and affairs with other women led Liberto to file for divorce in 1966.

June Carter

In 1968, 12 years after they had first met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Cash proposed to June Carter, an established country singer, during a live performance in London, Ontario, marrying on March 1, 1968 in Franklin, Kentucky. He had proposed numerous times, but she had always refused. They had only one child together, John Carter Cash (born March 3, 1970). They continued to work together, and tour, for thirty-five years, until June Carter died in 2003. Johnny Cash died less than four months after. June Carter co-wrote one of his biggest hits, 'Ring of Fire', and they together won two Grammy awards for their duets. Vivian Liberto claims a different version of the origins of 'Ring of Fire' in her book Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny, stating that Cash gave Carter the credit for monetary reasons.

Early Career

In 1954, Johnny and Vivian moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he sold appliances while studying to be a radio announcer. At night he played with guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant. Perkins and Grant were known as the Tennessee Two. Cash worked up the courage to visit the Sun Records studio, hoping to get a recording contract. After auditioning for Sam Phillips, singing mostly gospel songs, Phillips told him to 'go home and sin, then come back with a song I can sell.' Cash eventually won over Phillips with new songs delivered in his early frenetic style. His first recordings at Sun, 'Hey Porter' and 'Cry Cry Cry', were released in 1955 and met with reasonable success on the country hit parade.

Cash's next record, 'Folsom Prison Blues', made the country Top 5, and 'I Walk the Line' became No. 1 on the country charts and entered the pop charts Top 20. Following 'I Walk the Line' was 'Home of the

Blues', recorded in July 1957. That same year Cash became the first

Sun artist to release a long-playing album. Although he was Sun's most consistently best-selling and prolific artist at that time, Cash felt constrained by his contract with the small label. Elvis Presley had already left Sun, and Phillips was focusing most of his attention and promotion on Jerry Lee Lewis. The following year Cash left the label to sign a lucrative offer with Columbia Records, where his single 'Don't Take Your Guns to Town' became one of his biggest hits.

In the early 1960s, Cash toured with the Carter Family, which by this time regularly included Mother Maybelle's daughters, Anita, June and Helen. June, whom Cash would eventually marry, later recalled admiring Johnny from afar during these tours.

Outlaw Image

As his career was taking off in the early 1960s, Cash started drinking heavily and became addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates. For a brief time, he shared an apartment in Nashville with Waylon Jennings, who was heavily addicted to amphetamines. Cash used the uppers to stay awake during tours. Friends joked about his 'nervousness' and erratic behavior, many ignoring the warning signs of his worsening drug addiction. In a behind the scenes look at The Johnny Cash Show, Cash claims to have 'tried every drug there was to try.'

Although in many ways spiraling out of control, Cash's frenetic creativity was still delivering hits. His rendition of 'Ring of Fire' was a crossover hit, reaching No. 1 on the country charts and entering the Top 20 on the pop charts. The song was written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. The song was originally performed by Carter's sister, but the signature mariachi-style horn arrangement was provided by Cash, who said that it had come to him in a dream.

In June 1965, his truck caught fire due to an overheated wheel bearing, triggering a forest fire that burnt several hundred acres in Los Padres National Forest in California. When the judge asked Cash why he did it, Cash said, 'I didn't do it, my truck did, and it's dead, so you can't question it.' The fire destroyed 508 acres (2.06 km2), burning the foliage off three mountains and killing 49 of the refuge's 53 endangered condors. Cash was unrepentant: 'I don't care about your damn yellow buzzards.' The federal government sued him and was awarded $125,172. Johnny eventually settled the case and paid $82,001. Cash said he was the only person ever sued by the government for starting a forest fire.

Although Cash carefully cultivated a romantic outlaw image, he never served a prison sentence. Despite landing in jail seven times for misdemeanors, each stay lasted only a single night. His most infamous run-in with the law occurred while on tour in 1965, when he was arrested by a narcotics squad in El Paso, Texas. The officers suspected that he was smuggling heroin from Mexico, but it was

prescription narcotics and amphetamines that the singer had hidden inside his guitar case. Because they were prescription drugs rather than illegal narcotics, he received a suspended sentence.

Cash was also arrested on May 11, 1965, in Starkville, Mississippi, for trespassing late at night onto private property to pick flowers. (This incident gave the spark for the song 'Starkville City Jail', which he spoke about on his live At San Quentin prison album.)

In the mid 1960s, Cash released a number of concept albums, including Ballads Of the True West (1965), an experimental double record mixing authentic frontier songs with Cash's spoken narration, and Bitter Tears (1964), with songs highlighting the plight of the Native Americans. His drug addiction was at its worst at this point, and his destructive behavior led to a divorce from his first wife and canceled performances.

In 1967, Cash's duet with Carter, 'Jackson', won a Grammy Award.

Cash quit using drugs in 1968, after a spiritual epiphany in the Nickajack Cave, when he attempted to commit suicide while under the heavy influence of drugs. He descended deeper into the cave, trying to lose himself and 'just die', when he passed out on the floor. He reported to be exhausted and feeling at the end of his rope when he felt God's presence in his heart and managed to struggle out of the cave (despite the exhaustion) by following a faint light and slight breeze. To him, it was his own rebirth. June, Maybelle, and Ezra Carter moved into Cash's mansion for a month to help him defeat his addiction. Cash proposed onstage to June at a concert at the London Gardens in London, Ontario on February 22, 1968; the couple married a week later (on March 1) in Franklin, Kentucky. June had agreed to marry Cash after he had 'cleaned up'. Rediscovering his Christian faith, taking an 'altar call' in Evangel Temple, a small church in the Nashville area, Cash chose this church over many larger celebrity churches in the Nashville area because he said that there he was treated like just another parishioner and not a celebrity.

Folsom Prison Blues

Cash felt great compassion for prisoners. He began performing concerts at various prisons starting in the late 1960s. These performances led to a pair of highly successful live albums,”Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison” (1968) and “Johnny Cash at San Quentin” (1969).

The Folsom Prison record was introduced by a rendition of his classic 'Folsom Prison Blues', while the San Quentin record included the crossover hit single 'A Boy Named Sue', a Shel Silverstein-penned novelty song that reached No. 1 on the country charts and No. 2 on the U.S. Top Ten pop charts. The AM versions of the latter contained a couple of profanities which were edited out. The modern CD versions are unedited and uncensored and thus also longer than the original vinyl albums, though they still retain the audience reaction overdubs of the originals.

In addition to his performances at U.S. prisons, Cash also performed at the Österaker Prison in Sweden in 1972. The live album Pa Österaker ('At Österaker') was released in 1973. Between the songs, Cash can be heard speaking Swedish, which was greatly appreciated by the inmates.

The Johnny Cash Show

From 1969 to 1971, Cash starred in his own television show, The Johnny Cash Show, on the ABC network. The Statler Brothers opened up for him in every episode; the Carter Family and rockabilly legend Carl Perkins were also part of the regular show entourage. However, Cash also enjoyed booking more contemporary performers as guests; such notables included Neil Young, Louis Armstrong, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition (who appeared a record four times on his show), James Taylor, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton (then leading Derek and the Dominos), and Bob Dylan.

Cash had met with Dylan in the mid 1960s and became closer friends when they were neighbors in the late 1960s in Woodstock, New York. Cash was enthusiastic about reintroducing the reclusive Dylan to his audience. Cash sang a duet with Dylan on Dylan's country album Nashville Skyline and also wrote the album's Grammy-winning liner notes.

Another artist who received a major career boost from The Johnny Cash Show was songwriter Kris Kristofferson, who was beginning to make a name for himself as a singer/songwriter. During a live performance of Kristofferson's 'Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down', Cash refused to change the lyrics to suit network executives, singing the song with its references to marijuana intact: 'On a Sunday morning sidewalk / I'm wishin', Lord, that I was stoned.'

“”The Man in Black””

By the early 1970s, he had crystallized his public image as 'The Man in Black'. He regularly performed dressed all in black, wearing a long black knee-length coat. This outfit stood in contrast to the costumes worn by most of the major country acts in his day: rhinestone suit and cowboy boots. In 1971, Cash wrote the song 'Man in Black', to help explain his dress code: 'We're doing mighty fine I do suppose/In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes/But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back/Up front there ought to be a man in black.'

He and his band had initially worn black shirts because that was the only matching color they had among their various outfits. He wore other colors on stage early in his career, but he claimed to like wearing black both on and off stage. He stated that, political reasons aside, he simply liked black as his on-stage color. To this day, the United States Navy's winter blue service uniform is referred to by sailors as 'Johnny Cashes,' as the uniform's shirt, tie, and trousers are solid black.

Cash’s Mediatic Activity

In the mid 1970s, Cash's popularity and number of hit songs began to decline, but his autobiography (the first of two), titled Man in Black, was published in 1975 and sold 1.3 million copies. A second, Cash: The Autobiography, appeared in 1997. His friendship with Billy Graham led to the production of a movie about the life of Jesus, The Gospel Road, which Cash co-wrote and narrated. The decade saw his religious conviction deepening, and he made many evangelical appearances.

He also continued to appear on television, hosting an annual Christmas special on CBS throughout the 1970s. Later television appearances included a role in an episode of Columbo. He also appeared with his wife on an episode of Little House on the Prairie entitled 'The Collection' and gave a performance as John Brown in the 1985 Civil War television mini-series North and South.

He was friendly with every United States President starting with Richard Nixon. He was closest with Jimmy Carter, who became a very close friend. He stated that he found all of them personally charming, noting that this was probably essential to getting oneself elected.

When invited to perform at the White House for the first time in 1972, President Richard Nixon's office requested that he play 'Okie from Muskogee' (a satirical Merle Haggard song about people who despised youthful drug users and war protesters) and 'Welfare Cadillac' (a Guy Drake song that derides the integrity of welfare recipients). Cash declined to play either song and instead played a series of more left-leaning, politically charged songs, including 'The Ballad of Ira Hayes' (about a brave Native-American World War II veteran who was mistreated upon his return to Arizona), and his own compositions, 'What is Truth?' and 'Man in Black'. Cash claimed that the reasons for denying Nixon's song choices were not knowing them and having fairly short notice to rehearse them, rather than any political reason.


In 1980, Cash became the Country Music Hall of Fame's youngest living inductee at age forty-eight, but during the 1980s his records failed to make a major impact on the country charts, although he continued to tour successfully. In the mid 1980s, he recorded and toured with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson as The Highwaymen, making two hit albums.

During this period, Cash appeared as an actor in a number of television films. In 1981, he starred in The Pride of Jesse Hallam. Cash won fine reviews for his work in this film that called attention to adult illiteracy. Also in 1981, Cash appeared as the 'very special guest star' in an episode of the Muppet Show. In 1983, Cash appeared as a heroic sheriff in Murder In Coweta County, which co-starred Andy Griffith as his nemesis. This film was based on a real-life Georgia murder case. Cash had tried for years to make the film, for which he won acclaim.

Cash relapsed into addiction after being administered painkillers for a serious abdominal injury in 1983 caused by an unusual incident in which he was kicked and wounded by an ostrich he kept on his farm.

At a hospital visit in 1988, this time to watch over Waylon Jennings (who was recovering from a heart attack), Jennings suggested that Cash have himself checked into the hospital for his own heart condition. Doctors recommended preventive heart surgery, and Cash underwent double bypass surgery in the same hospital. Both recovered, although Cash refused to use any prescription painkillers, fearing a relapse into dependency. Cash later claimed that during his operation, he had what is called a 'near death experience'. He said he had visions of Heaven that were so beautiful that he was angry when he woke up alive.

Cash's recording career and his general relationship with the Nashville establishment were at an all-time low in the 1980s. He realized that his record label of nearly 30 years, Columbia, was growing indifferent to him and wasn't properly marketing him (he was 'invisible' during that time, as he said in his autobiography). Cash recorded an intentionally awful song to protest, a self-parody. 'Chicken in Black' was about Johnny's brain being transplanted into a chicken. Ironically, the song turned out to be a larger commercial success than any of his other recent material. Nevertheless, he was hoping to kill the relationship with the label before they did, and it was not long after 'Chicken in Black' that Columbia and Cash parted ways.

In 1986, Cash returned to Sun Studios in Memphis to team up with Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins to create the album Class of '55. This was not the first time he had teamed up with Lewis and Perkins at Sun Studios. On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley dropped in on Phillips to pay a social visit while Perkins was in the studio cutting new tracks, with Lewis backing him on piano. Cash was also in the studio and the four started an impromptu jam session. Phillips left the tapes running and the recordings, almost half of which were gospel songs, survived and have been released on CD under the title Million Dollar Quartet. Tracks also include Chuck Berry's 'Brown Eyed Handsome Man', Pat Boone's 'Don't Forbid Me', and Elvis doing an impersonation of Jackie Wilson (who was then with Billy Ward and the Dominoes) singing 'Don't Be Cruel'.

In 1986, Cash published his only novel, Man in White, a book about Saul and his conversion to become the Apostle Paul. He also recorded Johnny Cash Reads The Complete New Testament in 1990.

American Recordings

After Columbia Records dropped Cash from his recording contract, he had a short and unsuccessful stint with Mercury Records from 1987 to 1991.

In 1991, Cash sang lead vocals on a cover version of 'Man in Black' for the Christian punk band One Bad Pig's album I Scream Sunday.

His career was rejuvenated in the 1990s, leading to popularity among a younger audience not traditionally interested in country music. In 1993, he sang the vocal on U2's 'The Wanderer' for their album Zooropa. Although he was no longer sought after by major labels, Cash was approached by producer Rick Rubin and offered a contract with Rubin's American Recordings label, better known for rap and hard rock.

Under Rubin's supervision, he recorded the album American Recordings (1994) in his living room, accompanied only by his guitar. That guitar was a Martin dreadnought guitar - one of many Cash played throughout his career. The album featured several covers of contemporary artists selected by Rubin and had much critical and commercial success, winning a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Cash wrote that his reception at the 1994 Glastonbury Festival was one of the highlights of his career. This was the beginning of a decade of music industry accolades and surprising commercial success.

Text Box: Last Years and Death

In 1997, Cash was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease Shy-Drager syndrome. The diagnosis was later altered to autonomic neuropathy associated with diabetes. This illness forced Cash to curtail his touring. He was hospitalized in 1998 with severe pneumonia, which damaged his lungs. The albums American III: Solitary Man (2000) and American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002) contained Cash's response to his illness in the form of songs of a slightly more somber tone than the first two American albums. The video that was released for 'Hurt', a cover of the song by Nine Inch Nails, fit Cash's view of his past and feelings of regret. The video for the song, from American IV, is now generally recognized as 'his epitaph,' and received particular critical and popular acclaim.

June Carter Cash died on May 15, 2003, at the age of seventy-three. June had told Cash to keep working, so he continued to record and even performed a couple of surprise shows at the Carter Family Fold outside Bristol, Virginia. At the July 5th, 2003 concert (his last public performance), before singing 'Ring of Fire', Cash read a statement about his late wife that he had written shortly before taking the stage: '“The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has.” Despite his poor health, he spoke of looking forward to the day when he could walk again and toss his wheelchair into the river near his home.

Johnny Cash died less than four months after his wife, on September 12, 2003, while hospitalized at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. He was buried next to his wife in Hendersonville Memory Gardens near his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Text Box: Country legend Cash dies

Singer Johnny Cash, one of country music's most enduring stars, has died in the US aged 71. 

Cash died in hospital in Nashville, Tennessee, after complications from diabetes, which resulted in respiratory failure, his manager Lou Robin said.
Cash became an icon of American country music from the 1950s, with songs such as I Walk the Line and Ring of Fire. 
He was recently in hospital for two weeks with a stomach complaint and had only been released on Tuesday. 
Mr Robin added: 'I hope that friends and fans of Johnny will pray for the Cash family to find comfort during this very difficult time.'
U2 singer Bono led the tributes, saying 'he was more than wise', and likened Cash to an oak tree in a garden of weeds.
'I considered myself a friend, he considered me a fan - he indulged me.'
Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger added his voice, saying: 'His influence spread over many generations of different people. I loved him as singer and a writer.'

And Nick Cave, who worked with the singer, said: 'He had such a wealth of experience in his voice, heaven and hell and no-one could touch him.'

Text Box: “”Walk the Line””

Walk the Line is a 2005 American biographical drama film, directed by James Mangold and based on the life of country singer-and songwriter Johnny Cash. In the film star Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Robert Patrick.

The film focuses on Cash's younger life, his romance with June Carter, and his ascent to the country music scene, with material taken from his autobiographies. Walk the Line's production budget is estimated to have been US$28,000,000.

The film previewed at the Telluride Film Festival on September 4, 2005, and went into wide release on November 18. This film was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Actress (Reese Witherspoon) and Best Costume Design (Arianne Phillips). Witherspoon won the Oscar for Best Actress, the film's sole Oscar winner.

Text Box: Fans About Cash

Yeah Johnny Cash was and is one of a kind! There will never be someone like him! “The Man in Black” is one of my favorite Johnny Cash songs. It got so much soul, that song makes you think. May he rest in peace with the love of his life June! Johnny you will never be forgotten! (Sabrina)

Johnny Cash is my hero and “The Man in Black” is in my opinion one of his best. If you look into Johnny's eyes as he sings this song you see that he has seen a lot in his life. We miss you, Johnny! (Octavia Palmer)

I just love Johnny Cash, a good man, a good human being. (Scotch)

It’s not easy to be Johnny Cash, you know? And to have everyone looking at you, have everybody scrutinize you, checking on you and trying to do you favours you don’t want… loving is too much… I think we loved Elvis to death and we nearly did the same thing with Johnny Cash and.. had it not been, I think, for his faith in the Lord, I think he’d be dead. (Merle Haggard, country singer)

Text Box: Conclusion

Johnny Cash is cool. That can’t be said for many sexagenarians who’ve made a living playing country and gospel tunes, but the Man In Black is undeniably so, a “consensus that crosses genre and generation”. He’s a man of contradiction, who has battled the darkest demons, yet whose whatch has been directed to God. He has been a violent man, destroying countless hotel rooms and cars before rock stars even came to be. He’s also a scholar of the Old West, and of the Gospels, a reader impassionate about books and art. He has been a successful man at the peak of his career, in 1969, selling more records per month than the Beatles. His body and his career have proved resistant, and both have come up off the mat when circumstances seemed hopeless.

You might consider Johnny Cash the original gangster. He sang a song about killing a man 'just to watch him die' long before young men began to wear big pants and cap their teeth in gold. His trademark baritone growl and disdainful sneer were the crown and scepter he bore as the king of outlaw country music. Cash's unique sound wasn't complex by any means. However, nobody but Cash could sing those songs with the burning, heartfelt fever that has made him one of the most influential people in country music.

All these years and also in present, Cash’s music has been a true and helpful friend for people all over the world. Through his music, Johnny Cash succeeded to reveal his personality and beliefs, and identify himself with his fans. In spite of all his declines he has always been a person to believe in. He wrote songs about life, about things he saw around him. He felt what he sang, and this way, he managed to always be there for his fans.

Text Box: Bibliography

Encyclopedia of Country Music, published by Oxford University Press

Johnny Cash: The Life of an American Icon. Omnibus. Stephen Miller (2003).

Man in Black: His Own Story in His Own Words. Grand Rapids: Zondervan. Johnny Cash (1975).

Cash: The Autobiography. New York: Harper Collins. Cash, Johnny, with Patrick Carr (1997)


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