February 24, 2010

Johnny Cash: An American Legend

I know this does not fall neat and tidy under the classic rock theme and I'm not sure about all of you, but I have been a huge J.R. Cash fan for many years. I will try and give you all just a short bio of this hugely influential and popular man and follow up with the reasons for posting this now.

He was always a man who spoke his mind and lived his not-so-perfect life in a way that was quite appealing to a wide audience. He touched the lowest of the low person in a way that made him feel like he had been there and experienced it all himself. He was an American singer, songwriter, actor, author and biblical scholar. He was considered by many to be one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century weaving his stories of love, life and death into a musical 3 minutes at a time.

Although he was considered known for his country roots, his sound also spanned other genres of music including rockabilly, rock and roll, blues, folk and gospel. He was one of the original recording artists of Sam Phillip's new Sun Records in the mid 50's. He immediatley became an overnight sensation with some huge hits.

His style was a simple one that was led by his deep bass/baritone voice and the boom-chicka-boom of his back up musicians. Carl Perkins of Blue Suede Shoes fame was also a mainstay on many of Johnny's tours and concerts. He was one of the first major artists to put himself in harms way by giving a concert at 2 maximum security prisons with the prisoners not more than 6 feet from the stage. June Carter from the Carter Family also accompanied him to these concerts.

He married his long time love, June Carter in the mid 60's after a divorce from his first wife, Vivian. He had a daughter by the name of Roseanne with her and had a son, John Carter Cash with wife June. John Carter became very instrumental in the later years of Johnnys recording career and produced many of his later years records. In 1994 he was approached by Rick Rubin who wanted to sign him to a contract with his new American Recordings label. They created the first of what would eventually become 6 albums in Johnnys last years of his life.

The following song was from his American IV album. He was constanly looking deep within himself for the healing of long ago pain inflicted and if this Trent Reznor cover song does not touch you where it counts I will be very surprised.

The main reasons for me including this post today was to first encourage those of you who may never had an opportunity to listen to him to give him a chance. I guarantee he will touch your life where you are at right now.

Another reason was to share that his second posthumous album was released yesterday, American VI, 4 days before he would have turned 78 years old. American V and VI were recorded in the final year of his life. This second video is from that very album and is a haunting song of redemption and foretelling of Johnny Cash's final destiny.

I hope you can enjoy with me this slice of Americana at its best and maybe even come away with a new appreciation for The Man in Black. There is too much to share about him in a short post like this, but I highly recommend you explore all that he has to offer.



Charlie said...

Dan, no this isn't truly classic rock but it doesn't matter. Johnny was a classic artist with many of the same traits, faults, & attributes of most of the classic rock musicians. His influence is beyond dispute. Nice post!

Bond said...

Excellent post and does classic rock have to be limited to rock?

Johnny's music influenced many rock stars...

Dan said...

He is truly "Classic" and Bond, I agree, there is newer music that I would consider classic as well.

In my opinion, Johnny was an everyman who many people could and do relate to. He sang to the common man and woman and touched many peoples lives. Even from the grave he still touches lives and will for many years to come.

Thanks for your support.

Barbara said...

Absolutely a legend! Great topic. I remember when he died, so many people I knew, from very different tastes in music, all agreed that he was great.

Seano said...

He was more rock than most of the processed posers we have today...he's a RnRHOFer, too. An influence on everyone that matters.

Dan said...


Barbara said...

Dan: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...