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L E’s Stories – A Boy Named Sue Becomes The Man In Black, With A Sound Like Chugging Down The Railroad Track” – The Life Story And Tribute To Johnny Cash – Part 1

 

Part 1

 

Telling this story and providing these videos brings back many fond memories….cuz I was weened on country and gospel music out in West Texas, better known as “God’s Country”….and my favorite singer/songwriters were Hank Williams and Johnny Cash…..who both excelled in country and western and gospel music.  I can vividly remember laying on the front lawn at our home in Midland, Texas in the late evenings, just after the sun had dipped below the horizon….when the scorching heat of the dessert turned into a cool breeze…..which was a magical time when the universe above would open its vast window to the layers of millions of stars….with a sight that was incomparable because of the flatness of West Texas….which created an unobstructed view of the entire universe from East to West….and that was when we could pick up radio stations from hundreds of miles away like KOMA (Oklahoma City), KISS (Dallas), KILT (Houston), KLIF (Ft Worth) and XERF (Ciudad Acuña in Mexico) on our transistor radios…..who all played a healthy dose of country and western artists like Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Marty Robbins, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens, Roy Acuff, Tanya Tucker, Glenn Campbell, Bob Wills, Chet Atkins, Loretta Lynn et al….but my favorite of them all was Johnny Cash…. and my favorite radio station to listen too was XERF…..which was in Ciudad Acuña in Mexico, a station across the U.S.-Mexico border from Del Rio, Texas…whose 250,000kw high-powered border blaster signal could be picked up across much of the United States…..and featured a disc jockey named Wolfman Jack.  The truth be known, posting this life story and video tribute to Johnny Cash brings back so many wonderful stories of my youth….when I had special times laying on the grass and gazing at the stars…..while contemplating the vastness of the universe….and listening to the words of Johnny Cash et al…..for the opportunity to recall these special memories is truly a blessing….so, here’s to Johnny Cash, truly a bright star in my memory bank who deserves his place here at ImaSportsphile.

 

 

 

Music – 1953 To 2003 – Official Documentary of Johnny Cash – “The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash” 

 

 

Johnny Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American country music singer-songwriter…..whose music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption, especially in the later stages of his career.  He was known for his deep, calm bass-baritone voice…..along with the distinctive sound of his Tennessee Three backing band …..which was characterized by train-like chugging guitar rhythms…..and a rebelliousness coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor….. with many of his songs being inspired by his sympathy for the poor and working class…..while leading him to perform free prison concerts…..and wearing a trademark all-black stage wardrobe…..which earned him the nickname “The Man in Black”.

 

 

 

Music – 1932 To 2003 – Grunge Productions Documentary Special – “Tragic Details About Johnny Cash”
 

 

 

Born to poor cotton farmers in Kingsland, Arkansas, Cash rose to fame during the mid-1950’s during the burgeoning rockabilly scene in Memphis, Tennessee…..which was after he spent four years in the Air Force.  He traditionally began his concerts by simply introducing himself, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash”…..which was usually followed by “Folsom Prison Blues”……as one of his signature songs…..in addition to his other signature songs….which include “I Walk the Line”, “Ring of Fire”, “Get Rhythm” and “Man in Black”. He also recorded humorous numbers like “One Piece at a Time”, “A Boy Named Sue” and a duet with his future wife June called “Jackson”…..which were followed by many further duets after they got married…..plus, railroad songs such as “Hey, Porter”, “Orange Blossom Special” and “Rock Island Line”.  During the last stage of his career, he covered songs by contemporary rock artists…..with his most notable being “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails….“Rusty Cage” by Soundgarden…..and “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

 

Music – 1955 – Tex Ritters Ranch Party TV Show – With Guest Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Two Singing “Get Rhythm” 

 

 

 

 Music – 1976 – Johnny Cash Live On Stage – “One Piece At A Time”                                                                                          

 

 

Music – 1978 – The Johnny Cash TV Show – Roy Clark and Johnny Cash – “Orange Blossom Special”                          

 

 

Cash is one of the best-selling music artists of all time…..while having sold more than 90 million records worldwide…..where his genre-spanning music embraced country, rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel sounds. This crossover appeal earned him the rare honor of being inducted into the Country Music, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Gospel Music Halls of Fame. His music career was dramatized in the 2005 biopic Walk the Line.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

 

Music – 1980 – Special – Country Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony – With Mac Davis + Barbara Mandrel Presenting + Kenny Rogers Inducting Johnny Cash                                                                                                                

 

 

Music – 1992 – Rock N Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony – With Lyle Lovett Inducting Johnny Cash                                                                                                                                          

 

 

Music – 2011 – Gospel Music Hall of Fame Ceremony – Johnny Cash is Nominated to the Gospel Hall of Fame – With Trace Adkins Singing “Wayfaring Stranger”                                                                                                           

 

 

Cash was born J. R. Cash in Kingsland, Arkansas, on February 26, 1932, to Carrie Cloveree (née Rivers) and Ray Cash…..as he had three older siblings, named Roy, Margaret Louise and Jack…..along with three younger siblings, named Reba, Joanne, and Tommy, who also became a successful country artist.  He was primarily of English and Scottish descent…..as his paternal grandmother also claimed Cherokee ancestry.  He traced his Scottish surname to 11th-century Fife after meeting with the then-laird of Falkland, Major Michael Crichton-Stuart.  Cash Loch and other locations in Fife bear the name of his family. He is a distant cousin of British Conservative politician Sir William Cash.  His mother wanted to name him John and his father preferred to name him Ray…..so J. R. ended up being the only compromise they could agree on.  When Cash enlisted in the Air Force, he was not permitted to use initials as a 1st name…..so he changed it to John R. Cash…..then in 1955, when signing with Sun Records, he started using the name Johnny Cash.

 

 

 

Music – 1994 – Special Full Concert – Johnny Cash – Live At Manhattan Center

 

 

In March 1935, when Cash was three years old, the family settled in Dyess, Arkansas, a New Deal colony established to give poor families the opportunity to work land that they may later own.  From the age of five, he worked in cotton fields with his family…..while singing with them as they worked…..when the Cash farm in Dyess experienced a flood…..and led Cash later to write the song “Five Feet High and Rising”.  His family’s economic and personal struggles during the Great Depression gave him a lifelong sympathy for the poor and working class…..which inspired many of his songs.

 

 

 

Music – 1958 – Johnny Cash – “Five Feet High And Rising”

 

 

In 1944, Cash’s older brother Jack, with whom he was close, was cut almost in two by an unguarded table saw at work….and died a week later…..and according to his autobiography he, his mother and Jack all had a sense of foreboding about that day…..with his mother urging Jack to skip work and go fishing with J. R…..but Jack insisted on working…..as the family needed the money.  Cash often spoke of the guilt he felt over the incident…..and spoke of looking forward to “meeting [his] brother in Heaven”.

 

 

 

Music & Movie Clips – 2005 – Scene From “Walk The Line” Movie – When Johnny Cash’s Brother Jack Dies               

 

 

Cash’s early memories were dominated by gospel music and radio…..when he was taught guitar by his mother and a childhood friend…..as Cash began playing and writing songs at the age of 12.  When Johnny Cash was young, he had a high-tenor voice before becoming a bass-baritone after his voice changed after going through puberty.  In high school, he sang on a local radio station…..and just before he died 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…..which he heard performed weekly by Dennis Day on the Jack Benny radio program.                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 

Music – 2003 – From My Mother’s Hymn Book Album – Johnny Cash – “Where We’ll Never Grow Old”                    

 

 

Music – 2003 – From My Mother’s Hymn Book Album – Johnny Cash – “When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder”                   

 

 

Music – 2003 – From My Mother’s Hymn Book Album – Johnny Cash – “Do Lord”                                                                

 

 

Music – 2003 – From My Mother’s Hymn Book Album – Johnny Cash – “If We Never Meet Again This Side Of Heaven”

 

 

Music – 2003 – From My Mother’s Hymn Book Album – Johnny Cash – “In The Sweet By and By”                                   

 

 

Music – 2003 – From My Mother’s Hymn Book Album – Johnny Cash – “Softly and Tenderly”

 

 

Cash enlisted in the Air Force on July 7, 1950…..after which he did basic training at Lackland Air Force Base…..and technical training at Brooks Air Force Base…..which were both in San Antonio, Texas…..then Cash was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the U.S. Air Force Security Service at  Landsberg, West Germany…..where he worked as a Morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions.  While at Landsberg he created his 1st band, “The Landsberg Barbarians”.  On July 3, 1954, he was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant…..and he returned to Texas.  During his military service, he acquired a distinctive scar on the right side of his jaw as a result of surgery to remove a cyst.

 

 

 

Music & History – 1950 – Country History X Special  – “Johnny Cash, Joseph Stalin and the Great Morse Code Crack” – Story Of US Air Force Morse Code Interceptor Johnny Cash As The 1st person to Intercept the World-Changing News of Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin’s Death, and Communicate it to the Free World             

 

 

On July 18, 1951, while in Air Force basic training, Cash met 17-year-old Italian-American Vivian Liberto at a roller skating rink in San Antonio, Texas.  They dated for three weeks until Cash was deployed to West Germany for a three-year tour. During that time, the couple exchanged hundreds of love letters.  On August 7, 1954, one month after his discharge, they were married at St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church in San Antonio. They had four daughters: Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, and Tara.  In 1961, Cash moved his family to a hilltop home overlooking Casitas Springs, California. He had previously moved his parents to the area to run a small trailer park called the Johnny Cash Trailer Park. His drinking led to several run-ins with local law enforcement. Liberto later said that she had filed for divorce in 1966 because of Cash’s severe drug and alcohol abuse, as well as his constant touring, his repeated acts of adultery with other women, and his close relationship with singer June Carter. Their four daughters were then raised by their mother.

 

 

 

Music – 1958 – Country Style USA Live – Johnny Cash – “Stay All Night” + “There You Go”

 

 

On July 18, 1951, while in Air Force basic training, Cash met 17-year-old Italian-American Vivian Liberto at a roller skating rink in San Antonio, Texas.  They dated for three weeks until Cash was deployed to West Germany for a three-year tour. During that time, the couple exchanged hundreds of love letters.  On August 7, 1954, one month after his discharge, they were married at St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church in San Antonio. They had four daughters: Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, and Tara.  In 1961, Cash moved his family to a hilltop home overlooking Casitas Springs, California. He had previously moved his parents to the area to run a small trailer park called the Johnny Cash Trailer Park. His drinking led to several run-ins with local law enforcement. Liberto later said that she had filed for divorce in 1966 because of Cash’s severe drug and alcohol abuse, as well as his constant touring, his repeated acts of adultery with other women, and his close relationship with singer June Carter. Their four daughters were then raised by their mother.

 

 

 

Music & Film – 2020 – A Special Film – “My Darling Vivian” – The Story of Vivian Liberto, Johnny Cash’s 1st Wife

 

 

In 1954, Cash and his new wife, Vivian, moved to Memphis, Tennessee….. where he had sold appliances…..while studying to be a radio announcer.  At night, he played with guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant….. who were known as the Tennessee Two.  Cash worked up the courage to visit the Sun Records studio…..while hoping to get a recording contract….when he auditioned for Sam Phillips by singing mostly gospel songs, only to learn from the producer that he no longer recorded gospel music.  Phillips was rumored to have told Cash to “go home and sin, then come back with a song I can sell”…..albeit in a 2002 interview, Cash denied that Phillips made any such comment.  Cash eventually won over the producer with new songs delivered in his early rockabilly style…..so, in 1955, Cash made his 1st recordings at Sun….with “Hey Porter” and “Cry! Cry! Cry!”…..which were released in late June…..and met with success on the country hit parade.                         

 

 

 

Music – 1955 – From 25 Years of Johnny Cash Album – Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Three – “Hey Porter” 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                               

Music – 1955 – From 25 Years of Johnny Cash Album – Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two – “Cry, Cry, Cry”                                

 

 

On December 4, 1956, Elvis Presley dropped in on Phillips…..while Carl Perkins was in the studio cutting new tracks…..with Jerry Lee Lewis backing him on piano…..as Cash was also in the studio…..and the four started an impromptu jam session…..which Phillips left the tapes running….and the recordings, almost half of which were gospel songs, survived.  They have since been released under the title Million Dollar Quartet…..then in Cash: the Autobiography, Cash wrote that he was the farthest from the microphone….. and sang in a higher pitch to blend in with Elvis.                                                          

 

 

 

Music – 1956 – The Million Dollar Quartet Jamming Live In The Sun Records Studio – Featuring Elvis Presley + Carl Perkins + Jerry Lee Lewis + Johnny Cash Singing “I Had A Little Talk With Jesus” 

 

                                                 

 

Music – 1956 – The Million Dollar Quartet Jamming Live In The Sun Records Studio – Featuring Elvis Presley + Carl Perkins + Jerry Lee Lewis + Johnny Cash Singing “I Shall Not Be Removed”                                          

 

 

Music – 1956 – The Million Dollar Quartet Jamming Live In The Sun Records Studio – Featuring Elvis Presley + Carl Perkins + Jerry Lee Lewis + Johnny Cash Singing “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” + “Down By The Riverside”                                                                                                                                                   

 

 

Music – 1956 – The Million Dollar Quartet Jamming Live In The Sun Records Studio – Featuring Elvis Presley + Carl Perkins + Jerry Lee Lewis + Johnny Cash Singing “When The Saints Go Marchin’ In” + “End Of The Road”

 

 

Cash’s next record, “Folsom Prison Blues”, made the country top five…..then his “I Walk the Line” became # 1 on the country charts….and entered the pop charts top 20….then “Home of the Blues” followed after being recorded in July 1957.  That same year, Cash became the 1st Sun artist to release a long-playing album.  Although he was Sun’s most consistently selling and prolific artist at that time, Cash felt constrained by his contract with the small label. Phillips did not want Cash to record gospel and was paying him a 3% royalty rather than the standard rate of 5%.  Presley had already left Sun and, Phillips was focusing most of his attention and promotion on Lewis.

 

 

 

Music – 1958 – Hadley’s Town Hall Party Special – Featuring Johnny Cash – “I Walk The Line”                                                             

 

 

Music – 1958 – Hadley’s Town Hall Party Special – Featuring Johnny Cash – “I Got Stripes”                                                   

 

 

Music – 1958 – Country Style USA Live – With Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Two (Luther Perkins + Marshall Grant) – “Home of the Blues”

 

 

In 1958, Cash left Phillips to sign a lucrative offer with Columbia Records.  His single “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” became one of his biggest hits….. and then he recorded a collection of gospel songs for his 2nd album for Columbia.  However, Cash left behind a sufficient backlog of recordings with Sun that Phillips continued to release new singles and albums from…..which featured previously unreleased material until as late as 1964.   Cash was in the unusual position of having new releases out on two labels concurrently. Sun’s 1960 release, a cover of “Oh Lonesome Me”, made it to # 13 on the C&W charts.

 

 

 


 
Music – 1959 – From The Essential Johnny Cash Album – Johnny Cash – “Don’t Take Your Guns To Town”                                                      

 

 


 
Music – 1959 – From The Essential Johnny Cash Album – Johnny Cash – “Oh Lonesome Me”                                      

 

 

Early in his career, Cash was given the teasing nickname “the Undertaker” by fellow artists because of his habit of wearing black clothes…..to which Cash said he chose them because they were easier to keep looking clean on long tours.

 

 

 

Music & Talk Shows – 1983 To 1995 – Special – Johnny Cash & Waylon Jennings Collection on Letterman

 

 

In the early 1960’s, Cash toured with the Carter Family….which by this time regularly included Mother Maybelle’s daughters, Anita, June, and Helen….as June later recalled admiring him from afar during these tours….then the two became infatuated with each other.  In 1968, thirteen years after they first met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Cash proposed to June, during a live performance in London, Ontario…..and the couple married on March 1, 1968, in Franklin, Kentucky…..and they had one child together, John Carter Cash, born March 3, 1970…..who was the only son for both Johnny and June….so, in addition to having his four daughters with his 1st wife Vivian, Cash also became stepfather to Carlene and Rosie…..who were June’s daughters from her 1st two marriages to honky-tonk singer Carl Smith and former police officer, football player, and racecar driver Edwin “Rip” Nix, respectively.  Cash and Carter continued to work, raise their child, create music and tour together for 35 years until June’s death in May 2003.  

 

 

 

Music – 1973 – TV Special – Johnny Cash’s Country Music – Featuring Johnny Cash + Maybelle Carter Performing “Pick The Wildwood Flower”                                                                                                                         

 

 

Music – 1960 – Johnny Cash & The Carter Family – “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord”                                               

 

 

Music – 1969 – Johnny Cash & The Carter Family – “Keep On The Sunny Side”
 

 

 

In the 1960’s, he appeared on Pete Seeger’s short-lived television series Rainbow Quest.  He also acted in, and wrote and sang the opening theme for, a 1961 film entitled Five Minutes to Live….which was later re-released as Door-to-door Maniac.

 

 

 

Music – 1969 – Live on The Johnny Cash Show – Johnny Cash – “Cocaine Blues”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 

Music – 1971 – The Best of the Johnny Cash Show – Featuring Johnny Cash + June Carter Cash – “Because I Love You”

 

 

Cash’s career was handled by Saul Holiff, a London, Ontario, promoter. Their relationship was the subject of Saul’s son’s biopic My Father and the Man in Black.

 

 

 

Music – 1968 – The Ralph Emery Show Live – Featuring Johnny Cash + The Original Tennessee Three – Performing A Johnny Cash Medley                                                                                                                                                 

 

 

As his career was taking off in the late 1950’s, 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 deeply addicted to amphetamines.  Cash would use the stimulants to stay awake during tours. Friends joked about his “nervousness” and erratic behavior, many ignoring the warning signs of his worsening drug addiction.

 

 

 

Music – 1998 – Special Recording – Willie Nelson + Johnny Cash – “Family Bible”                                                                        

 

 


 
Music – 1971 – From Man In Black Live In Denmark Album – Johnny Cash + The Tennessee Three – “Children, Go Where I Send Thee” – With The Carter Family & The Statler Brothers                                                            

 

 

Music – 1969 – Live At San Quentin Prison – Johnny Cash + The Tennessee Three + Carl Perkins + The Carter Family – “Peace In The Valley”                                                                                                                                      

 

 

Although he was in many ways spiraling out of control, Cash could still deliver hits due to his frenetic creativity.  His rendition of “Ring of Fire” was a crossover hit…..which reached # 1 on the country charts…..and entered the top 20 on the pop charts…..as it was originally performed by June’s sister….. but the signature mariachi-style horn arrangement was provided by Cash.  He said that it had come to him in a dream…..whereas Vivian Liberto (Cash’s wife at the time) claimed a different version of the origins of “Ring of Fire”. In her book, I Walked the Line: My Life with Johnny, Liberto says that Cash gave Carter half the songwriting credit for monetary reasons.

 

 

 

Music & Profiles – 1951 To 1996 – Danie Steele Special Profile – Vivian Liberto:  “Johnny Cash’s 1st Wife Was Black?!?”                                                                                                                                                                           

 

 

Although Cash cultivated a romantic outlaw image, he never served a prison sentence. Despite landing in jail seven times for misdemeanors, he stayed only one night on each stay.  On May 11, 1965, he was arrested in Starkville, Mississippi, for trespassing late at night onto private property to pick flowers…..as he used this to write the song “Starkville City Jail”…..which he discussed on his live At San Quentin album.  While on tour that year, he was arrested October 4 in El Paso, Texas, by a narcotics squad….when the officers suspected he was smuggling heroin from Mexico…..but found instead 688 Dexedrine capsules (amphetamines) and 475 Equanil (sedatives or tranquilizers) tablets that the singer had hidden inside his guitar case. Because the pills were prescription drugs rather than illegal narcotics, he received a suspended sentence…..as Cash posted a $1,500 bond and then was released until his arraignment.

 

 

 

Music – 1965 – Johnny Cash Live On Stage – “The Starkville City Jail”

 

 

In this period of the mid-1960’s, Cash released a number of concept albums…..as his Bitter Tears in 1964 was devoted to spoken word and songs addressing the plight of Native Americans…..and their mistreatment by the government.  While initially reaching charts, this album met with resistance from some fans and radio stations…..which rejected its controversial take on social issues.  In 2011, a book was published about it…..which led to a re-recording of the songs by contemporary artists…..and the making of a documentary film about Cash’s efforts with the album…..while this film was aired on PBS in February and November 2016.  His album Sings the Ballads of the True West in 1965 was an experimental double record….while mixing authentic frontier songs with Cash’s spoken narration.

 

 

 

Music – 1965 – From Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West Album – “The Shifting, Whispering Sands”                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

Music – 1965 – From Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West Album – “The Ballad of Boot Hill”                  

 

 

Music – 1965 – From Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West Album – “Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie”                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

 

 Music – 1965 – From Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West Album – “25 Minutes To Go”                                       

 

 

 Music – 1965 – From Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West Album – “Mean As Hell”                                                                                                                                             

 

 

 Music – 1965 – From Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West Album – “Sweet Betsy From Pike”                    

 

 

Reaching a low with his severe drug addiction and destructive behavior, Cash was divorced from his first wife…..and had performances cancelled…..but he continued to find success…..when in 1967, Cash’s duet with June Carter, “Jackson“, won a Grammy Award.

 

 

 


 
Music – 1967 – Live on The Ralph Emery Show – Johnny Cash & June Carter – “Jackson”

 

 

Cash was last arrested in 1967 in Walker County, Georgia, after police found he was carrying a bag of prescription pills and was in a car accident. The singer was jailed for the night in LaFayette, Georgia…..when Sheriff Ralph Jones released him after giving him a long talk…..while warning him about the danger of his behavior and wasted potential…..as Cash credited that experience with helping him turn around and save his life.  He later returned to LaFayette to play a benefit concert….which attracted 12,000 people…. when the population of the city was less than 9,000 at the time…..and raised $75,000 for the high school.  Reflecting on his past in a 1997 interview, Cash noted, “I was taking the pills for awhile, and then the pills started taking me.”….and that is when June, Maybelle and Ezra Carter moved into Cash’s mansion for a month to help him get off drugs.  Johnny Cash proposed onstage to June on February 22, 1968, at a concert at the London Gardens in London, Ontario, Canada…..and the couple married a week later on March 1st in Franklin, Kentucky…..as she had agreed to marry Cash after he had “cleaned up.”

 

 

 

Music – 2017 – Super Bowl 2017 Special – Johnny Cash – “Ragged Old Flag”                                                                                              

 

 

Music – 1990 – Special – The Highwaymen Live At The Nassau Coliseum – Featuring Johnny Cash – “Ragged Old Flag”                                                                                                                                                                                 

 

 

Cash’s journey included rediscovery of his Christian faith….when he took an “altar call” in Evangel Temple, a small church in the Nashville area, pastored by Reverend Jimmie Rodgers Snow…..who was the son of country music legend Hank Snow.  According to Marshall Grant, though, Cash did not completely stop using amphetamines in 1968…..as he didn’t end all drug use until 1970….while staying drug-free for a period of seven years…..as Grant claims that the birth of Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, inspired him to end his dependence.

 

 

 

Music – 2002 – Recorded on the American IV: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash – “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”

 

 

 

Music – 2002 – Recorded on the American IV: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash – “The Man Comes Around”

 

 

Cash began performing concerts at prisons in the late 1950’s…..when he played his 1st famous prison concert on January 1, 1958, at San Quentin State Prison…..as these performances led to a pair of highly successful live albums….with Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968…..and Johnny Cash at San Quentin in 1969…..when both live albums reached # 1 on Billboard  country album music…..and the latter crossed over to reach the top of the Billboard pop album chart.  In 1969, Cash became an international hit….. when he eclipsed even The Beatles by selling 6.5 million albums.  In comparison, the prison concerts were much more successful than his later live albums such as Strawberry Cake recorded in London…..and Live at Madison Square Garden…..which peaked at # 33 and # 39 on the album charts, respectively.  The Folsom Prison record was introduced by a rendition of his “Folsom Prison Blues”…..while the San Quentin record included the crossover hit single “A Boy Named Sue”…..which was a Shel Silverstein-penned novelty song that reached # 1 on the country charts….and # 2 on the U.S. top-10 pop charts.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 


 
Music – 1968 – Full Concert – Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Music – 1969 – Trio Film Fanatic Special – Johnny Cash Live At San Quentin Prison                                                                                                

 

 

Music – 1990 – Live At The Nassau Coliseum – The Highwaymen: “A Boy Named Sue” – With Johnny Cash + Kris Kristofferson + Waylon Jennings + Willie Nelson                                                                                                       

 

 

 Music – 1990 – Live At The Nassau Coliseum – The Highwaymen: “The Folsom Prison Blues” – With Johnny Cash + Kris Kristofferson + Waylon Jennings + Willie Nelson   

 

 

Cash performed at the Österåker Prison in Sweden in 1972…..and the live album På Österåker (At Österåker) was released in 1973…..when “San Quentin” was recorded with Cash replacing “San Quentin” with “Österåker”. In 1976, a concert at Tennessee State Prison was videotaped for TV broadcast…..and received a belated CD release after Cash’s death….as A Concert Behind Prison Walls.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

 


 
Music – 1972 – Johnny Cash Live at Österåker Prison in Sweden – “Me And Bobby McGee”   

 

 

                                                                                                

Music – 1972 – Johnny Cash Live at Österåker Prison in Sweden – “Help Me Make It Through The Night”                                                     

 

 

Music – 1976 – Live At The Tennessee State Prison – Johnny Cash – “Wreck of the Old Ninety Seven”

 

 

 


 
Music – 1976 – Live At The Tennessee State Prison – Johnny Cash – “Jacob Green”

 

 

In 1965, Cash and June Carter appeared on Pete Seeger’s TV show, Rainbow Quest…..on which Cash explained his start as an activist for Native Americans saying “In ’57, I wrote a song called ‘Old Apache Squaw’ and then forgot the so-called Indian protest for a while, but nobody else seemed to speak up with any volume of voice.”  Columbia Music, the label for which Cash was recording then, was opposed to putting the song on his next album, considering it “too radical for the public”.  Cash singing songs of Indian tragedy and settler violence went radically against the mainstream of country music in the 1950’s…..which was dominated by the image of the righteous cowboy who simply makes the native’s soil his own.  In 1964, coming off the chart success of his previous album I Walk The Line….he recorded the aforementioned album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian.

 

 

 

Music – 1965 – Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest TV Show Live – With June Carter + Johnny Cash – “I’m Goin’ Down To The River of Jordan”                                                                                                                                               

 

 

Music – 1970 – The Johnny Cash Show Live – Pete Seeger + Johnny Cash Sing “Worried Man Blues”                                                                                 

 

 

We’re Still Here: Johnny Cash’s Bitter Tears Revisited, a documentary by Antonino D’Ambrosio (author of A Heartland and a Guitar: Johnny Cash and the Making of Bitter Tears) tells the story of Johnny Cash’s controversial concept album “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian”, covering the struggles of Native Americans. The film’s DVD was released on August 21, 2018.  The album featured stories of a multitude of Indigenous peoples, mostly of their violent oppression by white settlers….with the Pima (“The Ballad of Ira Hayes”), Navajo (“Navajo”), Apache (“Apache Tears”), Lakota (“Big Foot”), Seneca (“As Long as the Grass Shall Grow”), and Cherokee (“Talking Leaves”).  Cash wrote three of the songs himself and one with the help of Johnny Horton…..but the majority of the protest songs were written by folk artist Peter La Farge…..who was the son of activist and Pulitzer prizewinner Oliver La Farge…..whom Cash met in New York in the 1960’s and whom he admired for his activism.  The album’s single, “The Ballad of Ira Hayes”…..which was about Ira Hayes…..who was one of the six Marines to raise the U.S. flag at Iwo Jima…. when the song was neglected by nonpolitical radio at the time…..and the record label denied it any promotion due to its provocative protesting and “unappealing” nature.  Cash faced resistance and was even urged by an editor of a country music magazine to leave the Country Music Association who said, “You and your crowd are just too intelligent to associate with plain country folks, country artists, and country DJs.”

 

 

 

Music – 1961 – From “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian” Album – Johnny Cash – “As Long As The Grass Shall Grow”                                                                                                                                                                    

 

 

Music – 1961 – From “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian” Album – Johnny Cash – “Apache Tears”                             

 

 

 Music – 1961 – From “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian” Album – Johnny Cash – “Drums”                           

 

 

In reaction, on August 22, 1964, Cash posted a letter as an advertisement in Billboard, calling the record industry cowardly by saying “D.J.s – station managers – owners … where are your guts? I had to fight back when I realized that so many stations are afraid of Ira Hayes. Just one question: WHY??? Ira Hayes is strong medicine … So is Rochester, Harlem, Birmingham and Vietnam.”…..as Cash kept promoting the song himself…..and used his influence on radio disc jockeys he knew eventually to make the song climb to # 3 on the country charts…..while the album rose to # 2 on the album charts. 

 

Music – 1961 –  From “Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian” Album – Johnny Cash – “The Ballad of Ira Hayes”

 

                                                                                                                       

Later, on The Johnny Cash Show, he continued telling stories of Native-American plight, both in song and through short films, such as the history of the Trail of Tears.  In 1966, in response to his activism, the singer was adopted by the Seneca Nation’s Turtle Clan.  He performed benefits in 1968 at the Rosebud Reservation…..which was close to the historical landmark of the massacre at Wounded Knee…..in order to raise money to help build a school.  He also played at the D-Q University in the 1980’s.  Johnny Cash used his stardom and economic status to bring awareness to the issues which surrounded the Native American people……as he sang songs about indigenous humanity in an effort to confront the U.S. government….while  many non-Native Americans stayed away from singing about these things.  In 1970, Cash recorded a reading of John G. Burnett’s 1890, 80th-birthday essay on Cherokee removal for the Historical Landmarks Association (Nashville).

 

 

 

Music – 1969 To 1971 – Special – The Best of The Johnny Cash Show – Part 1 – With Louie Armstrong + Stevie Wonder + Creedence Clearwater Revival + Kris Kristofferson + Linda Ronstadt + George Jones + Waylon Jennings + Tammy Wynette + Marty Robbins + James Taylor + Pete Seeger + Neil Young + Joni Mitchell                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

 

Music – 1969 To 1971 – Special – The Best of The Johnny Cash Show – Part 2 – With Derek and The Dominos + Charlie Pride + Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Band + Loretta Lynn + Jerry Lee Lewis + The Everly Brothers + Tommy Cash + Ray Charles + Tony Joe White + Glen Campbell + Neil Diamond + Ray Price + Roy Orbison + Chet Atkins + Merle Haggard + Carl Perkins + Roy Clark + Hank Williams Jr                                                      

 

 

From June 1969 to March 1971, Cash starred in his own television show, The Johnny Cash Show, on the ABC network…..which was produced by Screen Gems…..when the show was performed at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The Statler Brothers opened for him in every episode…..while the Carter Family and rockabilly legend Carl Perkins were also part of the regular show entourage.  Cash also enjoyed booking mainstream performers as live music guests which included Linda Ronstadt in her 1st TV appearance, Neil Young, Louis Armstrong, Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, James Taylor, Ray Charles, Roger Miller, Roy Orbison, Derek and the Dominos, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan.

 

 

 

Music – 1970 – The Johnny Cash Show – Featuring Waylon Jennings – “Only Daddy That Walks The Line” + “When Waylon’s Out of Town” + “Brown Eyed Handsome Man”                                                                                                   

 

 

Music – 1977 – The Johnny Cash Show Christmas Special – Featuring Roy Clark + Roy Orbison + Jerry Lee Lewis + The Carter Family + The Statler Brothers                                                                                                                         

 

 

Music – 1969 – Live on The Johnny Cash Show – Joni Mitchell + Johnny Cash Duet – “Girl of the North Country”                                                                                                                                                                                

 

 

Music – 1970 – Live on The Johnny Cash Show – Featuring Linda Ronstadt + Bobby Bare + Mac Davis + Jose Feliciano + Carl Perkins + The Carter Family + The Statler Brothers                                                                               

 

 

Music – 1971 – The Johnny Cash TV Show – Featuring Charlie Pride + Bob Lupan + Glen Sherley + The Carpenters + Red Lane + The Carter Family + The Statler Brothers

 

 

 

Music  – 1971 –  Last 12 Minutes of the Last Episode of the Final Johnny Cash Show – Featuring Johnny Cash Performing “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen” and “He’ll Understand and Say Well Done” + The Statler Brothers Singing “When You And I Were Young” + June Carter Doing “Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” + Carl Perkins Playing “Your True Love” + The Carter Family Singing “Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies” and Cash’s Final Words to His TV Audience                                                                                                         

 

 

From September 15–18, 1969, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he performed a series of four concerts at the New Mexico State Fair to promote the 1st season of The Johnny Cash Show.  These live shows were produced with help from ABC and local concert producer Bennie Sanchez…..when during these sets Johnny Cash and Al Hurricane performed together.  Also during The Johnny Cash Show era, he contributed the title song and other songs to the film Little Fauss and Big Halsy…..which starred Robert Redford, Michael J. Pollard, and Lauren Hutton.  The title song, “The Ballad of Little Fauss and Big Halsy”, written by Carl Perkins, was nominated for a Golden Globe award in 1971.

 

 

 

Music & Movies – 1971 – Movie Little Fauss and Big Halsy Official Trailer – Starring Robert Redford & Michael J. Pollard – Featuring Johnny Cash Singing “The Ballad of Little Fauss and Big Halsy”

 

 

Cash had first met with Dylan in the mid-1960’s…..and became neighbors in the late 1960’s in Woodstock, New York…..as Cash was enthusiastic about reintroducing the reclusive Dylan to his audience…..when Cash sang a duet with Dylan, “Girl from the North Country”, on Dylan’s country album Nashville Skyline…..and also wrote the album’s Grammy-winning liner notes.

 

 

 

Music – 1969 – From Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline Album – Bob Dylan + Johnny Cash Duet – “Girl from the North Country”

 

 

 

Music – 1967 – Live in the Studio – Johnny Cash + Bob Dylan – “One Too Many Mornings”                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

 

Music – 1969 – Live in Studio – Official Video – Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash Duet – “Wanted Man”

 

 

Another artist who received a major career boost from The Johnny Cash Show was 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 closing program of The Johnny Cash Show was a gospel music special…..with guests The Blackwood BrothersMahalia JacksonStuart Hamblen and Reverend Billy Graham.

 

 

 

Music – 1970 – The Johnny Cash Show – Johnny Cash – “Sunday Morning Coming Down”                                                        

 

 

Music – 1969 – The Johnny Cash Show – With Kris Kristofferson – “Sunday Morning Coming Down”

 

 

 

Music – 1971 – The Johnny Cash Show – With Ray Price + June Carter + Conway Twitty + Hank Williams Jr. + Hank Williams Sr. + B. J. Thomas + Linda Hart + Dick Feller + Carl Perkins + The Carter Family + The Statler Brothers                                                                                                                                                                        

 

 

Music – 1971 – The Johnny Cash Show – With Mahalia Jackson – “Amazing Grace”                                                            

 

 

Music & Gospel – 1971 – The Johnny Cash Show – Featuring The Reverend Dr. Billy Graham                                             

 

 

 Music – 1971 – The Johnny Cash Show – Johnny and June Cash + The Statler Brothers + The Carter Family – “Old Time Religion Medley”                                                                                                                                              

 

 

By the early 1970’s, Cash had established his public image as “The Man in Black”…..as he regularly performed in entirely black suits with a long, black , knee-length coat…..which stood in contrast to the rhinestone suits and cowboy boots worn by most of the major country acts of his day.  Cash said he wore all black on behalf of the poor and hungry, the “prisoner who has long paid for his crime” and those who have been betrayed by age or drugs. He added, “With the Vietnam War as painful in my mind as it was in most other Americans, I wore it ‘in mourning’ for the lives that could have been’….. and apart from the Vietnam War being over, I don’t see much reason to change my position…..cuz the old are still neglected, the poor are still poor, the young are still dying before their time and we’re not making many moves to make things right. There’s still plenty of darkness to carry off.”

 

 

 

Music – 1971 – Performed Live On The Johnny Cash Show – Johnny Cash Singing “Man In Black”

 

 

Initially, he and his band had worn black shirts because that was the only matching color they had among their various outfits…..however, he wore other colors on stage early in his career…..but he claimed to like wearing black both on and off stage…..when he stated that political reasons aside, he simply liked black as his on-stage color.  The outdated US Navy’s winter blue uniform used to be referred to by sailors as “Johnny Cashes”…..as the  uniform’s shirt, tie, and trousers are solid black.

 

 

 

Music – 1972 – Johnny Cash Live At The Beat Club In Bremen, Germany (UnEdited)                                                       

 

 

Cash was raised by his parents in the Southern Baptist denomination of Christianity…..and was baptized in 1944 in the Tyronza River as a member of the Central Baptist Church of Dyess, Arkansas.  A troubled but devout Christian, Cash has been characterized as a “lens through which to view American contradictions and challenges.”  On May 9, 1971, he answered the altar call at Evangel Temple, an Assemblies of God congregation pastored by Jimmie R. Snow with outreach to people in the music world.  Cash penned a Christian novel, Man in White in 1986…..and in the introduction writes about a reporter, who, interested in Cash’s religious beliefs, questioned whether the book is written from a Baptist, Catholic, or Jewish perspective. Cash replies “I’m a Christian. Don’t put me in another box.”

 

 

 

Music – 1973 – Live At Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles – Johnny Cash – “A Night To Remember”                                                                                                                                                                            

 

 

In the mid-1970s, Cash and his wife, June, completed a course of study in the Bible through Christian International Bible College…..which culminated in a pilgrimage to Israel in November 1978…..when around that time, he was ordained as a minister…..and officiated at his daughter’s wedding.  He often performed at Billy Graham Crusades.  At a Tallahassee Crusade in 1986, June and Johnny sang his song “One of These Days I’m Gonna Sit Down and Talk to Paul”…..then at a performance in Arkansas in 1989, Johnny Cash spoke to attendees of his commitment to the salvation of drug dealers and alcoholics. He then sang, “Family Bible”.  He recorded several gospel albums and made a spoken-word recording of the entire New King James Version of the New Testament.  Cash declared he was “the biggest sinner of them all”…..and viewed himself overall as a complicated and contradictory man….as it is said of Cash that he has “contained multitudes”……and has been deemed “the philosopher-prince of American country music.”

 

 

 

Music – 1983 – From The Soul of Truth Album – Johnny Cash – “One Of These Days I’m Gonna Sit Down And Talk To Paul” 

 

 

 

Music & Gospel – 1993 – Johnny Cash Performs Live At The Billy Graham Crusade – And Sings “Family Bible”

 

 

In the mid-1970’s, Cash’s popularity and number of hit songs began to decline…..and he made commercials for Amoco and STP….which were not so popular products at the time of the 1970’s energy crisis.  In 1976, he made commercials for Lionel Trains…..for which he also wrote the music. However, his 1st autobiography, Man in Black, was published in 1975…..and sold 1.3 million copies….then a 2nd, Cash: The Autobiography, appeared in 1997.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

Music & TV Ads – 1972 – Johnny Cash For STP Oil Treatment                                                                                         

 

 

Music & TV Ads – 1972 – Johnny Cash For Amoco Gasoline                                                                                            

 

 

Cash’s friendship with Reverend Billy Graham led to his production of a film about the life of Jesus, Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus…..which Cash co-wrote and narrated….and was released in 1973…..as Cash viewed the film as a statement of his personal faith rather than a means of proselytizing.  Cash and June Carter Cash appeared several times on the Billy Graham Crusade TV specials…..and Cash continued to include gospel and religious songs on many of his albums…..albeit Columbia declined to release A Believer Sings the Truth…..which was a gospel double-LP Cash recorded in 1979…..and ended up being released on an independent label even with Cash still under contract to Columbia.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

 

 


 
Music & Gospel – 1979 – From Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus Album – Johnny Cash – “Praise The Lord”

 

 

 

Music & Gospel – 1979 – From Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus Album – Johnny Cash – “Gospel Road – Part 1”

 

 

 

Music & Gospel – 1979 – From Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus Album – Johnny Cash – “Gospel Road – Part 2”  

 

 

Music & Gospel – 1979 – From Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus Album – Johnny Cash – “John The Baptist”                                                                                               

 

 

Music & Gospel – 1979 – From Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus Album – Johnny Cash – “The Baptism of Jesus”                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

 

Music & Gospel – 1979 – From Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus Album – Johnny Cash – “The Burden of Freedom”                                                                                                                                                                              

 

 

Music & Gospel – 1979 – From Gospel Road: A Story of Jesus Album – Johnny Cash – “Jesus Was A Carpenter”                                                                                                                                                                                  

 

 

On November 22, 1974, CBS ran his one-hour TV special entitled Riding The Rails, a musical history of trains…..as he continued to appear on television….. while hosting Christmas specials on CBS in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Later television appearances included a starring role in an episode of Columbo, entitled “Swan Song”…..plus, June and he appeared in an episode of Little House on the Prairie, entitled “The Collection”…..and he gave a performance as abolitionist John Brown in the 1985 American Civil War television miniseries North and South…..then in the 1990s, Johnny and June appeared in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in recurring roles.

 

 

 

Music & Film – 1974 – CBS Television Special – “Riding the Rails – The Great American Train Story” – With Johnny Cash

 

 

Johnny Cash was friendly with every US president, starting with Richard Nixon…..but he was closest to Jimmy Carter…..with whom he became close friends…..and who was a distant cousin of his wife, June.  When invited to perform at the White House for the 1st time in 1970, Richard Nixon’s office requested that he play “Okie from Muskogee”, which was a satirical Merle Haggard song about people who despised hippies, young drug users and Vietnam war protesters…..”Welfare Cadillac” which was a Guy Drake song which chastises the integrity of welfare recipients…..and “A Boy Named Sue”. Cash declined to play the 1st two…..and instead selected other songs which  included “The Ballad of Ira Hayes”…..and his own compositions, “What Is Truth” and “Man in Black”…..as Cash wrote 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.  However, Cash added, even if Nixon’s office had given Cash enough time to learn and rehearse the songs…..with the belief that their choice of pieces that conveyed “antihippie and antiblack” sentiments might have backfired.  In his remarks when introducing Cash, Nixon joked that one thing he had learned about the singer was one did not tell him what to sing.

 

 

 

Music – April 17, 1970 – Excerpts of Johnny Cash for President Richard Nixon Live at the White House 

 

 

 

 Music & Politics – 1970 – Live At The White House – Johnny Cash & President Richard Nixon – Part 1                                                                                                                                

 

 

Music & Politics – 1970 – Live At The White House – Johnny Cash & President Richard Nixon – Part 2

 

 

Johnny Cash was the grand marshal of the United States Bicentennial parade…..when he wore a shirt from Nudie Cohn…..which sold for $25,000 in auction in 2010.  After the parade he gave a concert at the Washington monument.

 

 

 

Music – 1979 – TV Special – Johnny Cash & Family Christmas Show – With Tom T. Hall + Anne Murray + Andy Kaufman

 

 

 

 

 

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