Country Music's Original Bad Boy Johnny Cash

Country Music's Original Bad Boy Johnny Cash

the one and only Johnny Cash

Country music’s original bad boy is none other than Johnny Cash. I hadn’t planned on writing about Johnny Cash until I had by mere chance come across this somewhat famous picture. The Picture of Johnny cash flipping the bird was taken at San Quentin Prison, there are several rumors of the cause of the picture but then that is another post entirely, for today I will just discuss the pieces that made Johnny Cash the Man in Black, the Bad Boy of country music.

Johnny Cash grew up in the poverty stricken depression era. He originally born in Kingsland Arkansas though had moved at the age of three to Dyess a farming community that was part of FDR’s New Deal. He was 1 of 7 children born to Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash, they worked as a family to manage all of the farming responsibilities.

Cash grew up surrounded by music. It has been said that he knew every song in his mother’s hymn book inside and out. He picked up his first guitar when he was 12 years old and though he may not have known it then, he took his first step to become one of the most famous Country Music stars. His fame has lived on beyond his life, his albums continue to sell to his old fans and new fans that will never get a chance to actually see him play beyond old recordings via YouTube.

Johnny Cash had enlisted in the US Air Force, he met his first wife Vivian Liberto during his basic training in Texas. They would later move to Memphis Tennessee. The place his first album would be recorded. Sun Records was his first record label, his first release was recorded by Sam Phillips of Sun Records and was a recording of the new Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two. Band members Luther Perkins and Marshal Grant would develop a bond of friendship and follow him through his path of destruction that led to musical fame.

In 1956 Cash recorded I Walk the Line. It raced to a number 1 position in music charts and sold over 1 million copies. I Walk the Line brought Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two into music light that would never fade and open the doors to a life of drug abuse, poor choices and redemption.

He joined the Million Dollar Quartet tour. This placed him beside featured artist Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. It has been rumored that it was on this tour that Johnny Cash turned to drugs for the first time.

After years of endless tour schedules, suspected infidelity and ongoing drug abuse his marriage was beginning to unravel before his eyes. A mere 10 years after his initial fame Vivian filed for divorce leaving Johnny Cash in a broken state. This led to even more drug use, he was in fact on the brink of death when a Georgia police officer discovered him past out following a drug binge that could have killed any man.

In 1967 the sweetheart of country music, June Carter saw something in Johnny cash that others seemed to miss. She fought for his recovery and his life. She pushed him to become the man he was meant to be.

Johnny Cash’s early music is memorable and songs like Hey Porter are fun upbeat songs. The songs that he released after June Carter came into his life were powerful and filled with meaning. She helped him to become what he was.

Aside from numerous singles, Johnny Cash released an amazing 100 albums throughout his musical career. Other albums have been released following his death in 2003. Some of these later albums have been compilations rereleased though American V Aint No Grave is said to be his last recorded songs and a farewell album.

Johnny Cash is in both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock N Roll hall of Fame. He has won numerous awards. He has had an award placed in his name, the Johnny Cash Visionary Award. This award is one of his winning awards and is rarely won. He has live a life of fighting demons and finding redemption and has made a song along the way to share each segment of his life.