John R. “Johnny” Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was a singer-songwriter, actor, and author, widely considered one of the most influential American musicians of the 20th century. Although primarily remembered as a country music icon, his genre-spanning songs and sound embraced rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of multiple induction in the Country Music, Rock and Roll, and Gospel Music Halls of Fame.
Cash was known for his deep bass-baritone voice, the distinctive sound of his Tennessee Three backing band, a rebelliousness coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor, free prison concerts, and trademark look, which earned him the nickname “The Man in Black”. He traditionally began his concerts with the simple “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”, followed by his signature “Folsom Prison Blues”.
Much of Cash’s music echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption, especially in the later stages of his career. His best-known songs included “I Walk the Line”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, “Ring of Fire”, “Get Rhythm” and “Man in Black”. He also recorded humorous numbers like “One Piece at a Time” and “A Boy Named Sue”; a duet with his future wife, June Carter, called “Jackson”; and railroad songs including “Hey, Porter” and “Rock Island Line”. During the last stage of his career, Cash covered songs by several late 20th-century rock artists, most notably “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails.
- ^ Johnny Cash—Guitars and Equipment, Über Pro Audio, 2009, retrieved May 15, 2009
- ^ Holden, Stephen (September 13, 2003), “Johnny Cash, Country Music Bedrock, Dies at 71″, The New York Times, retrieved February 25, 2013
- ^ a b c Pareles 1994.
- ^ Dickie, M. (2002) , “Hard talk from the God-fearin’, pro-metal man in Black”, in Streissguth, M., Ring of fire: The Johnny Cash reader, Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, pp. 201–205
- ^ Streissguth, M. (2006), Johnny Cash: a biography, Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo, p. 196
- ^ Fox, JA (October 17, 2005), “Hard time’s never a ‘circus‘“, The Boston Herald (Baylor University), retrieved March 22, 2010
- ^ Streissguth 2005.
- ^ Schultz, B. (July 1, 2000), “Classic Tracks: Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues‘“, Mix, retrieved March 22, 2010
- ^ Mulligan, J. (February 24, 2010), “Johnny Cash: American VI: Ain’t No Grave”, (album review), entertainment.ie http://entertainment.ie/album-review/Johnny-Cash–American-VI-Ain%27t-No-Grave/6891.htm, retrieved March 22, 2010
- ^ For discussion of, and lyrics to, Cash’s songs, see Cusic, D., ed. (2004), Johnny Cash: The songs, New York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth