On what would have been his 85th birthday, we’re stopping to take the time to remember one of the true icons in country music. A man who’s legend is as grand as his music since his story and career have been documented in multiple books and Hollywood movies. But concentrating solely on what brought his name to fruition, we look at the music that made him famous, from his work amongst Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison with Sun records, to his later work with Rick Rubin and Def Jam, here’s Mojo20’s favourite Johnny Cash…
The Man Comes Around (from American IV: The Man Comes Around) 2003
Dark and biblical but upbeat and brash, one of his finest later recordings before his passing… These sentiments have led to it being used for many impactful and aggressive videos to promote world awareness
Cocaine Blues (from At Folsom Prison) 1968
From his infamous live recording and performance for the inmates at Folsom prison, this one always stands out. Who would go into a maximum security prison and play a song about drugs? I know who…
Oh, What A Good Thing We Had (from Duets Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash) 1983
One of the greatest love stories of all time has got to be between Johnny and June Cash. With persistence and struggle came a lifelong love that was too hard to be without as they passed away within months of each other.
A Boy Named Sue (from At San Quentin) 1969
One of country music’s greatest elements is its storytelling and there’s no finer example than ‘A Boy Named Sue’ from his sophomore live album. What’s better is that it’s hilarious too.
Hey Porter (single release) 1955
‘Hey Porter’ was the first recording for Sam Phillips Sun records once he’d taken on Johnny Cash and the Tennessee two and it was the beginning of big things for Cash and Phillips.
One (from American III: Solitary Man) 2000
A cover of the U2 classic, but done with more grit and honesty, making it as definitive as the original. Cash had a tone that would make covers instantly classic and you’d have no trouble forgetting who did them originally.
Man In Black (from Man In Black) 1971
Released on Columbia records, this predominantly gospel record also gave us, what would become a bit of a theme tune for Johnny Cash as the title track went on to explain his regular attire.
Get Rhythm (single release) 1956
One of his most upbeat and danceable tracks ever released. I always like to imagine how it was received in the mid 50’s. Very exciting times in music.
Jackson (from Greatest Hits, Vol. 1) 1967
One of the first big duets between Johnny and June and it’s no doubt there most iconic and well known.
Hurt (from American IV: The Man Comes Around) 2003
One of the truly saddest songs of all time, this Nine Inch Nails cover was used in incredible fashion to essentially allow Johnny to perform his own Eulogy, as we looked back at his past and also at his frail and heart breaking end. The ironic twist was that it was June who passed only three months after recording the music video, leaving Johnny without her in his final months.
Happy Birthday Mr.Cash…
Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)