Good Morning, Everyone.
This week, we will get the music from the Country Legend Johnny Cash.
John R. “Johnny” Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author who was considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Although he is primarily remembered as a country music icon, his songs and sound spanned other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll—especially early in his career—and blues, folk, and gospel. This crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of induction in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice,[a] for the “boom-chicka-boom” sound of his Tennessee Three backing band; for a rebelliousness, coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor; for providing free concerts inside prison walls;[page needed] and for his dark performance clothing, which earned him the nickname “The Man in Black”.[b] He traditionally began his concerts with the phrase “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”[c], followed by his standard “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 was born in Kingsland, Arkansas, the fourth of seven children to Ray Cash (May 13, 1897, Kingsland, Arkansas – December 23, 1985, Hendersonville, Tennessee) and Carrie Cloveree (née Rivers; March 13, 1904, Rison, Arkansas – March 11, 1991, Hendersonville, Tennessee). Cash was named J. R. Cash because his parents couldn’t think of a name. When Cash enlisted in the Air Force, they wouldn’t let him use initials as his name, so he started to use the legal name John R. Cash. In 1955, when signing with Sun Records, he took Johnny Cash as his stage name.
The Cash children were: Roy, Margaret Louise, Jack, J. R., Reba, Joanne and Tommy. His younger brother, Tommy Cash, also became a successful country artist.
In March 1935, when Cash was three years old, the family settled in Dyess, Arkansas. He started working in cotton fields at age five, singing along with his family while working. The family farm was flooded on at least two occasions, which later inspired him to write the song “Five Feet High and Rising”.[page needed] His family’s economic and personal struggles during the Great Depression inspired many of his songs, especially those about other people facing similar difficulties.
Cash was very close to his older brother, Jack. In May 1944, Jack was pulled into a whirling head saw in the mill where he worked and was almost cut in two. He suffered for over a week before he died on May 20, 1944, at age 15.[page needed] 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.
Cash’s early memories were dominated by gospel music and radio. Taught by his mother and a childhood friend, Cash 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.[page needed]
Cash enlisted in the United States Air Force on July 7, 1950. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base and technical training at Brooks Air Force Base, both in San Antonio, TX, Cash was assigned to a U.S. Air Force Security Service unit, assigned as a Morse Code Intercept Operator for Soviet Army transmissions at Landsberg, Germany “where he created his first band named The Landsberg Barbarians.” He was the first radio operator to pick up the news of the death of Joseph Stalin. After he was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant on July 3, 1954, he returned to Texas.