Johnny Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was a country, gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly singer, guitarist, songwriter, and actor. He was born in Kingsland, Arkansas, United States. His family did not enjoy a good economic condition, therefore, from the age of six, Johnny had to work on cotton plantations. From a very young age he began to listen to country music, and at the age of twelve he was already composing his own songs. He participated in the Korean War, as a radio operator, where he was in charge of making transcripts of secret Russian communications. It is at this time, he bought his first guitar, that he taught himself to play.

After the war, he continued in the military world, there he organized a group of five companions to form a musical group called the Landsberg Barbarians. Three years later a military newspaper published his first song, Hey Porter. At the end of the military period he returned to his native country and married in 1954 his girlfriend from his school. Soon they had the first of his four children, he worked as a door-to-door salesman, among other informal jobs. He never stopped singing and playing guitar.

He met some musicians who decided to integrate him into the group, The Tennessee Three, with whom he performed some small concerts. On one occasion, the trio is discovered by Sam Phillips of Sun Records, who convinces them to become a country group. He thinks that Johnny gets excited. The group accepted and began to publish their first single Cry, Cry, Cry in mid-1955, thanks to this they achieved great success on the country circuits. They acted as opening act for the famous Elvis Presley in some of his concerts, with this the level of sales of their single increased. That is when Johnny Cash decided to leave his job and dedicate himself fully to music.

The band released their first album, Johnny Cash with his hot and blue guitar. It was the first album from the label and the last one Cash participated in, because he was quickly signed by Columbia. This singer quickly became famous with his lyrics inspired by the life of marginalized groups: convicts, cowboys or indigenous groups. In the mid-1960s, he released Folsom Prison Blues, a song that tells the story of a convict in an American prison. He was baptized by his fans as «The Man in Black», because most of the time he wore black clothes. In 1968 Cash recorded his most popular album: Johnny Cash at Folsom prison, recorded in Folsom prison.

But unfortunately Cash began to lead his life towards drugs and alcohol. This affected his marriage relationship that ended up ending. Disconsolate, he received the help of a friend of the couple, June Carter, who gives him lodging and gives him all the help so that Cash abandons drugs. In 1968 he announces his marriage to June. Thanks to her, he managed to recover and continue his musical career, in that year the country singer was deserving of a Grammy award.

The popularity of Johnny Cash allowed him to be invited to a television program: The Johnny Cash Show, he also participated in a film with Kirk Douglas: Gunfighter and offered a concert at the White House for President Richard Nixon. In 1971 he shocked his fans with the song Man In Black. The artist focused on other non-musical works, therefore, he did not have great successes. He focused on the production or the creation of his own recording studio, in addition to making several collaborations with other artists.

For the 80’s he released his album Highwayman, a remarkable success where he received the collaboration of Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson among others. That same year he was signed by Mercury Records, with whom he recorded the album Water From The Wells Of Home. But, his fight against drugs began to win him over, he relapsed again, as a consequence he began to have health problems, especially he began to suffer from heart problems. Although he never gave up music.

Signed with American Recordings, Cash had to face the nascent country groups, who began to impose other styles. Although, these youth groups felt great respect and admiration for the singer. Cash began to suffer from Parkinson’s disease, then was affected by pneumonia. At that time, he was the winner of a new Grammy with the album «Unchained», receiving recognition from the music world for his important career in country music.

Starting the 21st century, he published: American III: Solitary Man (2000) and American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002), these songs were characterized by a more reflective and introspective tone. One of the video clips that is part of American IV, received critical support and also won an MTV Video Music Award in the category of best cinematography in 2003 and a Grammy for best music video in 2004. Cash repeated his luck in 2008 when he received a Grammy in the same category for the video clip of God’s Gonna Cut You Down, a song that is part of American V.

The death of his wife was a heavy blow for the singer, she was very important in his personal and musical life. Following the death of his wife, Johnny Cash passed away on September 12, 2003 at Baptist Hospital in Nashville from diabetes. The musician was buried next to his wife. A year later, American Recordings published the Unearthed compilation box, made by the musician before he died.

Also published posthumously: A Hundred Highways, and Ain’t No Grave, three days before Cash’s 78th birthday. His great popularity led to the making of a film based on the life of the singer: Walk the Line, released in 2005 under the direction of James Mangold, who had the important collaboration of Cash’s youngest son: John Carter Cash. Now, Cash was recently inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame.

 

Phrases

-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.

-I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way.

-I’m very shy really. I spend a lot of time in my room alone reading or writing or watching television.

Johnny Cash Quotes

-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.

-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.

-This business I’m in is different. It’s special. The people around me feel like brothers and sisters. We hardly know each other, but we’re that close; somehow there’s been an immediate bonding between total strangers. We share each other’s triumphs, and when one of us gets hurt, we all bleed – it’s corny, I know, but it’s true. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s great. It turns up the heat in life.

-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’ve got a song you’re singing from your gut, you want that audience to feel it in their gut. And you’ve got to make them think that you’re one of them sitting out there with them too. They’ve got to be able to relate to what you’re doing.

Johnny Cash Quotes

-I took the easy way, and to an extent I regret that. Still, though, the way we did it was honest. We played it and sang it the way we felt it, and there’s a lot to be said for that.

-People call me wild. Not really though, I’m not. I guess I’ve never been normal, not what you call Establishment. I’m country.

-If you aren’t gonna say exactly how and what you feel, you might as well not say anything at all.

-I love to go to the studio and stay there 10 or 12 hours a day. I love it. What is it? I don’t know. It’s life.

-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.

-The things that have always been important: to be a good man, to try to live my life the way God would have me, to turn it over to Him that His will might be worked in my life, to do my work without looking back, to give it all I’ve got, and to take pride in my work as an honest performer.

-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!

Johnny Cash Quotes

-You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it.

-Life is rough so you gotta be tough.

-If this were a movie I’d be the bad guy.

-There’s a lot of things blamed on me that never happened. But then, there’s a lot of things that I did that I never got caught at.

-Beneath the stains of time the feeling disappears, you are someone else I am still right here.

-There’s no more simple life with simple choices for the young.

-However, neither he nor anyone else could have become the star Elvis was. Ain’t nobody like Elvis. Never was.

-Somehow there’s been an immediate bonding between total strangers. We share each other’s triumphs, and when one of us gets hurt, we all bleed – it’s corny, I know, but it’s true.

-We’re all in this together if we’re in it at all.

-You miss a lot of opportunities by making mistakes, but that’s part of it: knowing that you’re not shut out forever, and that there’s a goal you still can reach.

-The ones that you’re calling wild are going to be the leaders in a little while.

-I’m not bitter. Why should I be bitter? I’m thrilled to death with life.

Johnny Cash Quotes

-I love weather. I’m a connoisseur of weather. Wherever my travels take me, the first thing I do is turn on the weather channel and see what’s going on, what’s coming. I like to know about regional weather patterns, how storms are created in different altitudes, what kinds of clouds are forming or dissipating or blowing through, where the winds are coming from, where they’ve been. That’s not a passion everybody shares, I know, but I don’t believe there are any people on earth who, properly sheltered, don’t feel the peace inside a summer rain and the cleansing it brings, the renewal of the earth in its aftermath.

-If you aren’t gonna say exactly how and what you feel, you might as well not say anything at all.

-Money can’t buy back your youth when you’re old, a friend when you’re lonely, or peace to your soul.

-It’s good to know who hates you and it is good to be hated by the right people.

-A rose looks grey at midnight, but the flame is just asleep. And steel is strong because it knows the hammer and white heat.

Johnny Cash Quotes

-You can ask the people around me. I don’t give up. I don’t give up… and it’s not out of frustration and desperation that I say I don’t give up. I don’t give up because I don’t give up. I don’t believe in it.

-It makes me so mad that some people underestimate the wisdom and energy of young people. All because they don’t look the way older folks think they should look. I’m working on a song about it. Maybe some of those closed minded people will realize long hair and tattoos don’t mean they should be ignored. Close minded people are part of what’s wrong with this world.

-I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine.

-For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide.

-Happiness is being at peace, being with loved ones, being comfortable…but most of all, it’s having those loved ones.

-There’s unconditional love there. You hear that phrase a lot but it’s real with me and her [June Carter]. She loves me in spite of everything, in spite of myself. She has saved my life more than once. She’s always been there with her love, and it has certainly made me forget the pain for a long time, many times. When it gets dark and everybody’s gone home and the lights are turned off, it’s just me and her.

-When my wife died, I booked myself into the studio just to work, to occupy myself.

-Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, I got on my knees and told her that I was going to marry her some day. We were both married to someone else at the time. ‘Ring Of Fire’ — June and Merle Kilgore wrote that song for me – that’s the way our love affair was. We fell madly in love and we worked together all the time, toured together all the time, and when the tour was over we both had to go home to other people. It hurt.

Johnny Cash Quotes

-Flesh and blood needs flesh and blood, and you’re the one I need.

-She’s the greatest woman I have ever known. Nobody else, except my mother, comes close.

-There’s no way around grief and loss: you can dodge all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully, come out the other side. The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left.

-I’m not really concerned about boundaries. I just follow my conscience and my heart. Follow your heart. That’s what I do. Compassion is something I have a lot of, because I’ve been through a lot of pain in my life. Anybody who has suffered a lot of pain has a lot of compassion.

-Life and love go on, let the music play.

-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. She’s never been one for me except courage and inspiration. I thank God for June Carter. I love her with all my heart.

-I don’t have Paul’s calling – I’m not out there being all things to all men to win them for Christ – but sometimes I can be a signpost. Sometimes I can sow a seed. And post-hole diggers and seed sowers are mighty important in the building of the Kingdom.

-If you don’t get outside every day, even for a minute, you have not appreciated what God has done. It makes you grateful for our surroundings, and it starts your day differently.

-No matter how much you’ve sinned, no matter how much you’ve stumbled, no matter how much you fall, no matter how far you’ve got from God, don’t give up. You can still be redeemed. As someone says, keep the faith.

-Life is the question and life is the answer, and God is the reason and love is the way.

-I read novels but I also read the Bible. And study it, you know? And the more I learn, the more excited I get.

-We’ll all be equal under the grass, and God’s got a heaven for country trash.

-God’s the final judge for Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash too. That’s solely in the hands of God.

-I have tried drugs and a little of everything else, and there iss nothing in the world more soul-satisfying than having the kingdom of God building inside you and growing.

-I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak, and love. And Mother. And God.
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.

-The Master of Life been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where other saw oblivion. He Has given new purpose to live for, new services to render and old wounds to heal. Life and love go on, let the music play.

-My arms are too short to box with God.

-The gospel of Christ must always be an open door with a welcome sign for all.

-Jesus will not fail me, I shall not be moved.

-I wear black because I’m comfortable in it. But then in the summertime when it’s hot I’m comfortable in light blue.

-I was wearing black clothes almost from the beginning. I feel comfortable in black. I felt like black looked good onstage, that it was attractive, so I started wearing it all the time.

-I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion — against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.

-I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town, I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime, But is there because he’s a victim of the times. I wear the black for those who never read.

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