Johnny Cash Biography

By , October 12, 2011

Johnny Cash

 

Born John R Cash in Kingsland, Arkansas on the 26th February 1932 Johnny Cash as he later became known was a very famous and well known singer, songwriter, producer, actor, author and also one of the most profound individuals that changed many people’s lives during his lifetime. Cash is featured in three halls of fame; the Country Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Gospel Music Hall of Fame. He was an exceptionally diverse person and was able to cross over his music to suit which is why he appealed to so many people on so many different levels. His voice is one of the most well known and recognized voices of the 20th century as it was exceptionally distinctive with a difference bass baritone voice that was deep and also adaptable.  His most well known work that is instantly recognized is the famous “Folsom Prison Blues”, “I Walk the Line”, “Ring of Fire”, “Man in Black” and his hit “Get Rhythm”, these songs tackle the dark issues of sorrow, trials and tribulation, morals and also the thought and feelings of redemption. His earlier work was a lot lighter than this darker side that emerged with his songs streaming with love but also loss, strength and inner thoughts.

Johnny was the 4th child of 7 children which his parents, Ray Cash and Carrie Cloveree Rivers had during their marriage. Johnny used the abbreviation of J.R throughout his childhood but only when he became a serving airman in the USA Air Force did he have to use his correct name of Johnny R Cash. It was only when he began recording with the label Sun did he choose his stage name, Johnny Cash in 1955. It was his difficult and hard childhood which inspired many of his future songs but although his personal and family circumstances were at times best described as difficult he had a well rounded and love filled childhood mentally. But it was both the good times and the hard times that featured in his many songs and albums that we have all come to know and love.

During his career Johnny Cash met many famous and influential individuals who included Luther Perkins, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Marshall Grant and Jerry Lee Lewis. In 1956 Elvis along with Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Cash himself played an impromptu jamming session in which the tapes fully recorded which was much later released as the “Million Dollar Quartet” and became a huge smash hit for them all. With great singles such as “Folsom Prison Blues”, “I Walk the Line” which topped at number 1 in the US Country charts and “Don’t Take Your guns to Town” Cash carved out a name for himself and his career flourished under the watchful eyes of Sun and then Columbia records.

Cash was no stranger to the law and this helped him to create an “outlaw image” that allowed him to brand himself as someone very different to the other artists available at the time and standing out did him good in both his personal life and his career. This “outlaw image” was one of a romantic stranger with good looks and an amazing voice, and although he promoted this image and fed into it by getting arrested he was never sent to prison.

Johnny Cash’s first marriage was to Vivian Liberto in 1954 after he was discharged from the Air Force. This marriage lasted for 12 years and in 1966 they got divorced but the marriage was in all a happy one until nearer the end with 4 daughters being born; Kathy, Rosanne, Tara and Cindy. The marriage broke down after Cash became hooked on drugs and alcohol, and had numerous affairs whilst on tour.

His second wife and love of his life he had actually met 13 years before they married at the Grand Ole Opry. June Carter became his wife on the 1st March 1968 and continued to be married until her untimely death in 2003. The marriage was also fruitful with a son being born, John Carter Cash, in 1970 who went on to become a famous singer just like his parents and half sister Rosanne from Johnny’s first marriage. Cash and Carter worked together through a wide span of 35 years and even penned one of his most famous hits “Ring of Fire” together.  Often dueting together the pair was a powerful couple and managed to corner and be successful in everything they did within the music, literature and cultural markets. Johnny Cash died also in 2003 just 4 months after the death of his wife June. Although he died from natural causes many believe that he died of a broken heart. Today they are buried together in the family plot they created in the Hendersonville Memory Gardens Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA.

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June Carter Cash

By , October 12, 2011

June Carter Cash

 

June Carter Cash was a famous American songwriter, actress, singer, dancer, author and comedienne, in fact she was the perfect all round package that became Johnny Cash’s second wife. June Carter Cash was brought into this world on the 23rd June 1929 as Valerie June Carter in Maces Spring, Virginia, USA to her parents Maybelle Carter and Ezar Carter. Both her parents had strong ties within the country music scene and the family were in a family band known as the Carter Family which June joined officially when she was just a tender ten year old girl. The family band soon began to branch out in different sections with June joining her sister’s and mother in the Maybelle & the Carter Sisters. This new family group was then later joined by her brothers in 1945 when June was 16. During this time June was co-announcing on a radio show and did commercials for several different well known brands as well as working with the band. In 1946 the band went on tour and visited several states where she not only performed as a singer and dance in the band but she also performed as a comedy act, which was well known to be the star attraction. In her comedy sketch she played the part of Aunt Polly which was honed and added to by her time spent at the John Marshall High School by her teachers and fellow peers.

By 1950 the band along with her father moved to Nashville, Tennessee under the wing of Grand Ole Opry management company her the family became quickly part of the true country and music scene and even became friends with some legendary acts such as Elvis Presley and Hank Williams, it was also at this time that June finally met the man that was to become her third husband; Johnny Cash. Although they did meet at this time they did not become an item until the sixties after she had already been married and divorced twice and had two children with each husband. Her first husband was the singer Carl Smith whom she married in 1952 until 1956 when they got divorced. Together they wrote many songs of which one became a huge hit; Times A Wastin. Their daughter, Rebecca Carlene Smith or Carlene Carter as she preferred to be known, also went on to become a singer inheriting both her parent’s talent for the arts. Her second husband was also a talented man but not in the music scene, he was a retired football player, a police officer and also a race car driver, whom to the world was known as Rip Nix (Edwin Nix). They married in 1957, divorced in 1966 and also had a daughter called Rosanna Lea who preferred to be called Rosie Nix Adams, who also like her sister and mother went on to become a successful singer.

June’s third and final marriage to Johnny cash began in 1968 and she remained married to him until the day she passed away in 2003. Together they had a long and happy relationship which also resulted in the birth of a child but this time she had a son who they called John Carter Cash. John Carter Cash was no different than the rest of his family and went on to carve out a successful career in singing, songwriting and also producing. As for the rest of June’s family she could lay claim to being a distant relative to Elvis Presley and also US President Jimmy Carter who acknowledged her as family and even mentioned her in one of his speeches.

During June’s lifetime she was a supporter of charity work and especially to one charity in particular, the SOS Children’s Villages in which June and Johnny donated a substantial amount of money to so that they could build a village near to their Jamaican home. It did not stop with just a donation both June and Johnny when they visited their Jamaican home visited the village and spent time with the children singing songs with them and playing the guitar to lift their spirits.

June died on the 15th May 2003 in Nashville where she had spent a substantial amount of her life. She had been married to Johnny Cash for 35 years and died after a complication following surgery on her heart valves to replace them. Not to be left alone Johnny Cash then died just 4 months later (natural Causes) to be with his beloved wife where they were both laid to rest near their home together at the Hendersonville Memory Gardens in Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA.

Anchored In Love : An Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash

Johnny Cash Discography

By , October 12, 2011

Johnny Cash Discography

 

The singer and all round superstar managed to record 96 albums and 153 singles which were recorded on a range of different record labels and also were collaborated on some of them with the music scene’s most influential and important people of the time. The Johnny Cash discography contains 55 Studio Albums, 6 Live Albums, 84 Compilation Albums and 165 various singles he also feature and/or produced 19 Music Videos, 2 Soundtracks and had 13 number one singles. Not all of these albums noted were his own but were produced by him which is why there is a difference in the numbers above.

In his Albums which began in 1957 with the smash hit “Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar” was produced by the label Sun. he then went on to fluxuate between two labels; Columbia and Sun with an album brought out by one and the next by the other. This alternate pattern continued right through to 1964 when he then signed an exclusive deal with Columbia which began with the album “I Walk the Line” in 1964 and ended with the album “Rainbow” in 1985. He then went on to sign with Mercury with who he recorded 5 albums with till 1991 and then with American Recordings until 2003 with the album “Unearthed”. Following his death in 2003, American Recordings then went on to bring out 2 further albums “American V: A Hundred Highways” and “American VI: Ain’t No Grave” in 2006 and 2010.

His Live Albums began in 1968 with “At Folsom Prison” and ended with “At Madison Square Garden’s” in 2002. New West Records then brought out “Live from Austin TX” in 2005, 2 years after his death and Island Records brought out “The Great Lost Performance-Live at the Paramount Theatre, Asbury Park, New Jersey” in 2007.

Soundtracks covered 2 films I walk the Line in 1970 and Little Fauss and Big Halsy in 1971 both were huge hits for both Columbia and Johnny cash adding a further 2 albums to his discography.  Johnny did not stop there and during his music career from 1959 to a release after his death in 2004 he had 11 Gospel albums under his belt. Not one to miss an opportunity Johnny also did Christmas Albums and brought out 4 different albums with the first in 1963 “The Christmas Spirit” and finally 1991 “Johnny Cash Country Christmas”.

Johnny also collaborated with some very famous people during his wide career which included his family, his friends, other country stars and during the end of his career several other rock and alternative bands.

Click Here to See Complete Johnny Cash Discography

Folsom Prison Blues

By , October 12, 2011

History of Folsom Prison Blues

This famous song written by Johnny Cash was released to the public back on the 15th of December 1955 and was so good it was re-released again in the April of 1968. The reasons behind the song being written are due to Johnny Cash watching the movie Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison which was produced in 1951. Cash at the time was serving within the United States Air Force and based in West Germany during the war. It was this experience coupled with the meaning behind the film that helped Johnny Cash to write the song Folsom Prison Blues. In the song he writes with a combination of his own experiences in war and how he believes that the main character in the film behaves due to his conviction. Because of his conviction in the film he sits in his cell thinking about the outside world and about the people he sees sitting on the train that passes his cell every day, it is this scene out of his window that tortures him the most. Johnny Cash was also tortured by his own life in the war which is why he connected with the movie so much, he believed his time in the Air Force was similar to being in prison.

After writing the song he then began to look for the right music in which to pare it with and this came in the form of the 1953 song Crescent City Blues sung by Gordon Jenkins. His album Seven Dreams also helped to inspire Johnny cash with many of the lyrics taking a similar tone and line from the song. Because he borrowed so much from the song sung by Gordon Jenkins, Johnny Cash had to offer him a settlement to avoid any problems with him producing his own updated version in the form of Folsom Prison Blues; the settlement is rumored to have been around $75,000 which back in the seventies was a substantial amount of money. When Cash then re-released the song in 1968 he did so by opening up a show at the actual prison that had inspired him; Folsom Prison on the 13th January of the same year. The name of his album says it all, “At Folsom Prison” and when he playe the title song the inmates refused to cheer at certain parts of the song it is rumored due to them fearing a reprisal from the prison guards.

Johnny Cash Quotes

By , October 12, 2011

johnny cash quotes

 

 

Johnny Cash was actually very intellectual and had a brilliant insight into life and the many roads we travel down during it. Not only was he a hugely accomplished man who had a finger in every part of the pie he was also renowned for some of the world’s most well known quotes on love, life, money and even social issues. Here are just some of the more well known quotes of Johnny Cash;

“For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide”

“I start a lot more songs than I finish, because I realize when I get into them, they’re no good. I don’t throw them away, I just put them away, store them, get them out of sight”

“My father was a man of love. He always loved me to death. He worked hard in the fields, but my father never hit me. Never. I don’t ever remember a really cross, unkind word from my father

“Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight

“How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man”

“It’s like a novelist writing far out things. If it makes a point and makes sense, then people like to read that. But if it’s off in left field and goes over the edge, you lose it. The same with musical talent, I think”

“That was the big thing when I was growing up, singing on the radio. The extent of my dream was to sing on the radio station in Memphis. Even when I got out of the Air Force in 1954, I came right back to Memphis and started knocking on doors at the radio station”

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space”

“When I record somebody else’s song, I have to make it my own or it doesn’t feel right. I’ll say to myself, I wrote this and he doesn’t know it!”

“You’ve got to know your limitations. I don’t know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way.”

 

Johnny Cash Songs

By , October 12, 2011

Johnny Cash Songs

 

 

Johnny Cash throughout his career accomplished many things of which he produced many albums of which some of them were studio albums (55), live albums (6), several soundtracks, gospel albums, Christmas albums and compilation albums (84). He also produced several different types of singles (165) sometimes in collaboration with other people such as guest singles, guest appearances and the several soundtracks (2) and compilations. To top it all off Johnny Cash also featured in movies, produced concert videos, several music videos (19) and in total had 13 number one singles!

His career began in 1957 with the album “Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar” right through to current day (2011) this means that his career has lasted over 50 years and he is still as popular in the Country Music scene as he ever was in his earlier work. Nowadays he is featured in many collaboration albums with the most recent being “From Memphis to Hollywood”.

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