Born: February 26, 1932; Kingsland, Arkansas.

Died: September 11, 2003; Nashville, Tennessee.

Instruments of choice: guitar, harmonica, vocals.

Johnny Cash; The Man in Black, the original Goth, the poor man's poet, and all around creepy guy. Notorious substance abuser, fighter, and born-again Christian. He’s worked with the likes of Elvis Presley and Glenn Danzig.

Originally part of the Sun Records Million Dollar Quartet along with Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, he was shunned from the country music community in his later years. Undoubtedly the greatest country vocalist in history, Johnny Cash is now recognized in the Rock and Roll and Country Music Halls of fame. He's won 10 Grammy Awards, including a "legendary artist" award. He has a star on the Walk of Fame, and countless fans in North America and Europe.

He’s had a massive string of hits, (48 Billboard top 100 singles) including: I Walk the Line, The Man in Black, The Wreck of the ol’ 97, The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer, Ring of Fire, A Boy Named Sue, and Wabash Cannonball.

Johnny Cash is the only person ever to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. He has truly not only crossed musical borders, but refused to be categorized into any one genre of music. From the very first, Johnny Cash has been an original. As a matter of fact, his first and only voice teacher told him not to change a thing in his way of singing, that he was a song stylist and to 'do it his way'. And Johnny Cash has done just that.

Cash's first big break came when Sam Phillips of Sun Records agreed to listen to his songs. It didn't come easy however. Cash had tried to arrange a interview with Phillips many times and had been turned away. Finally Cash found out what time Phillips came to work and sat on the steps of the Sun Record's office and waited for him. Phillips invited Cash in, liked what he heard and invited him back the next day to play more. What Cash really wanted to do was record Gospel songs, but Phillips had other plans. This was in 1954. Johnny Cash's first song to hit the charts was Cry, Cry, Cry, and his first song to hit #1 was I Walk the Line.

By 1957 Johnny Cash had many hit songs and was performing regularly at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. During that time he met June Carter of the Carter Family backstage at the Opry and immediately fell in love with her. At their first meeting in 1956 he says he got down on his knees and told her he was going to marry her someday. The two played together and toured together, falling in love, but both were still married to other people. June Carter wrote the song Ring of Fire for Johnny at that time, about their intense and painful feelings for one another.

During the early 1960s, Cash's career continued to grow, as did his addiction to amphetamines. His life was spinning out of control and he was even banned from the Grand Ole Opry after he kicked out some stage lights in a fit of rage. Cash was touring about 300 nights a year, and needed the drugs to keep up with his hectic schedule. His marriage to his first wife, Vivien Liberto ended in divorce. Johnny ended his addiction however, with the help of his singing partner June Carter, who he married in 1968.

The Johnny Cash Show debuted in 1969 on ABC and was a huge hit. Even today people recognize the opening line of Hello, I'm Johnny Cash, which he opened every show with. The show featured a huge variety of singers and performers including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Louis Armstrong, Merle Haggard and the poet Shel Silverstein who was the author of the poem A Boy Named Sue which Cash later recorded and turned into a hit. Johnny also used the show as a place to express his political views, of which Native American Rights, prison reform, and his opposition of the Vietnam War were foremost.

Prison reform has been an important cause in Johnny Cash's life ever since he began playing concerts inside prisons in the late 1950s. His first prison concert was at San Quentin in 1958, and his later friend and musical partner Merle Haggard was sitting in the front row. Despite what most people believe, Johnny Cash has never been locked up in prison or even accused of a felony. The worst misdemeanor he was convicted of was setting a forest fire, for which he was fined 85,000. He did spend a few single nights in jail in the early 1960's as a result of his wild lifestyle at the time, however. His association with prisons and prisoners came about because of the songs he wrote including Folsom Prison Blues.

In 1983 Cash was attacked by an ostrich and recieved several broken ribs and other injuries. This resulted in him becoming re-addicted to pain medication, and eventually going to the Betty Ford Center to overcome the addiction. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during the 1980's however, an event that he calls the "greatest honor" of his life. His induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame came in 1992.

Cash was diagnosed with Shy-Drager Syndrome, a condition similar to Parkinson's Disease in 1996 and subsequently suffered several serious bouts with pnuemonia. Later this was determined to be a misdiagnosis caused by symptoms resulting from the pnuemonia, untreated diabetes, and nerve damage. The illness kept Cash fairly inactive however until around 1999 when he began re-recording music again, collaborating with Rick Rubin, better known as a rap and rock producer, to cut the acclaimed "American" series of albums. When Rubin was asked why he would take on a singer known mainly for country music, he replied "I don't see him as a country act. I would say he embodies rock 'n' roll. He's an outlaw figure, and that is the essence of what rock 'n' roll is."

Endnote: Johnny Cash died yesterday (September 11, 2003) of complications of diabetes. He follows his beloved wife June Carter Cash, who died May 16, 2003.

Johnny Cash Discography

Note: This listing does not include the many extant "Greatest Hits" or compilation albums. All song lists will be linked to the albums shortly. (Did I say shortly? I meant eventually.) Please /msg me if you have any corrections/additions to the discography!

1957 - Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar
1958 - The Fabulous Johnny Cash
1959 - Hymns by Johnny Cash
1959 - Songs of Our Soil
1960 - Ride This Train
1960 - Now There Was A Song!
1962 - Hymns from the Heart
1962 - The Sound of Johnny Cash
1963 - Blood, Sweat and Tears
1963 - Ring of Fire
1963 - The Christmas Spirit
1964 - Keep on the Sunny Side
1964 - I Walk the Line
1964 - Bitter Tears - Ballads of the American Indian
1964 - Orange Blossom Special
1965 - Ballads of the True West
1966 - Everybody Loves a Nut
1966 - Happiness is You
1967 - Carryin' on with Johnny Cash and June Carter
1968 - From Sea to Shining Sea
1968 - Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison
1969 - The Holy Land
1969 - Johnny Cash at San Quentin
1969 - Old Golden Throat
1969 - More of 'Old Golden Throat'
1970 - Hello, I'm Johnny Cash
1970 - The Johnny Cash Show
1970 - I Walk the Line - Movie Soundtrack
1970 - Little Fauss and Big Halsy - Movie Soundtrack
1971 - Man in Black
1972 - A Thing Called Love
1972 - America
1972 - The Johnny Cash Family: Christmas
1973 - The Gospel Road
1973 - Any Old Wind That Blows
1973 - Johnny Cash and His Woman
1974 - Ragged Old Flag
1974 - The Junkie and the Juicehead Minus Me
1975 - Johnny Cash Sings Precious Memories
1975 - The Children's Album
1975 - John R. Cash
1975 - Pa Osteraker - Inside a Swedish Prison
1975 - Look at Them Beans
1975 - Destination Victoria Station
1976 - Strawberry Cake
1976 - One Piece at a Time
1977 - The Last Gunfighter Ballad
1977 - The Rambler
1978 - I Would Like to See You Again
1978 - Gone Girl
1978 - The Unissued Johnny Cash
1978 - Johnny and June
1979 - Tall Man
1979 - Silver
1979 - A Believer Sings the Truth
1980 - Rockabilly Blues
1980 - Classic Christmas
1980 - Johnny Cash Sings With the B.C. Goodpasture Christian School Choir
1981 - The Baron
1982 - The Survivors
1982 - The Adventures of Johnny Cash
1983 - Johnny 99
1984 - I Believe
1985 - Believe in Him
1985 - Highwayman - with the Highwaymen
1985 - Rainbow
1986 - Class of '55 - with Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison & J.L. Lewis
1986 - Heroes - with Waylon Jennings
1987 - Johnny Cash is Coming to Town
1988 - Classic Cash
1988 - Water From the Wells of Home
1989 - The Spoken Word New Testament
1990 - Boom Chicka Boom
1990 - Highwayman 2 - with the Highwaymen
1991 - The Mystery of Life
1991 - Country Christmas
1994 - American Recordings
1995 - The Road Goes on Forever - with the Highwaymen
1996 - Unchained
1998 - VH1 Storytellers: Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson
1999 - I Walk the Line/Little Fauss and Big Halsy
1999 - It's All in the Family
1999 - Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison - rereleased with extra material
2000 - Love, God, Murder
2000 - Johnny Cash at San Quentin - rereleased with extra material
2000 - American III: Solitary Man
2000 - Return to the Promised Land
2002 - American IV: The Man Comes Around


Sources
http://www.geocities.com/Nashville/Opry/2629/jcdisc1.html
http://www.johnnycash.com/discography.htm
http://www.legacyrecordings.com/johnnycash/

By means of updating the comprehensive list of Cash's studio work above:

2006 - American V: A Hundred Highways

A posthumous album, and perhaps the saddest thing you'll ever hear; Cash is audibly at the end of his life at the time of recording, and the material is particuarly bleak and emotional as a result. Of particular note is Like the 309, the last song he ever wrote.

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