119 Facts About Johnny Cash


Johnny Cash was known for his deep, calm bass-baritone voice, the distinctive sound of his Tennessee Three backing band characterized by train-like chugging guitar rhythms, a rebelliousness coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor, free prison concerts, and a trademark all-black stage wardrobe, which earned him the nickname the "Man in Black".


Johnny Cash traditionally began his concerts by simply introducing himself, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash", followed by "Folsom Prison Blues", one of his signature songs.


Johnny Cash is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide.


Johnny Cash's genre-spanning music embraced country, rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel sounds.


Johnny Cash had three older siblings, Roy, Margaret Louise, and Jack, and three younger siblings, Reba, Joanne, and Tommy.


Johnny Cash traced his Scottish surname to 11th-century Fife after meeting with the then-laird of Falkland, Major Michael Crichton-Stuart.


Johnny Cash is a distant cousin of British Conservative politician Sir William Cash.


Johnny Cash's mother wanted to name him John and his father preferred to name him Ray, so JR ended up being the only compromise they could agree on.


When Cash enlisted in the Air Force, he was not permitted to use initials as a first name, so he changed it to John R Cash.


In March 1935, when Johnny Cash was three years old, the family settled in Dyess, Arkansas, a New Deal colony established to give poor families the opportunity to work land that they may later own.


Johnny Cash often spoke of the guilt he felt over the incident, and spoke of looking forward to "meeting [his] brother in Heaven".


When young, Johnny Cash had a high-tenor voice, before becoming a bass-baritone after his voice changed.


Johnny Cash was significantly influenced by traditional Irish music, which he heard performed weekly by Dennis Day on the Jack Benny radio program.


Johnny Cash worked as a Morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions.


Johnny Cash worked up the courage to visit the Sun Records studio, hoping to get a recording contract.


Johnny Cash auditioned for Sam Phillips by singing mostly gospel songs, only to learn from the producer that he no longer recorded gospel music.


Phillips was rumored to have told Johnny Cash to "go home and sin, then come back with a song I can sell", although in a 2002 interview, Johnny Cash denied that Phillips made any such comment.


Johnny Cash eventually won over the producer with new songs delivered in his early rockabilly style.


Johnny Cash was in the studio, and the four started an impromptu jam session.


Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" became number one on the country charts and entered the pop charts top 20.


That same year, Johnny Cash became the first Sun artist to release a long-playing album.


In 1958, Johnny Cash left Phillips to sign a lucrative offer with Columbia Records.


However, Johnny Cash left behind a sufficient backlog of recordings with Sun that Phillips continued to release new singles and albums featuring previously unreleased material until as late as 1964.


Johnny Cash was in the unusual position of having new releases out on two labels concurrently.


Early in his career, Johnny Cash was given the teasing nickname "the Undertaker" by fellow artists because of his habit of wearing black clothes.


Johnny Cash said he chose them because they were easier to keep looking clean on long tours.


Johnny Cash acted in, and wrote and sang the opening theme for, a 1961 film entitled Five Minutes to Live, later re-released as Door-to-door Maniac.


Johnny Cash's career was handled by Saul Holiff, a London, Ontario, promoter.


Johnny Cash's rendition of "Ring of Fire" was a crossover hit, reaching number one on the country charts and entering the top 20 on the pop charts.


Johnny Cash said that it had come to him in a dream.


In June 1965, Johnny Cash's camper caught fire during a fishing trip with his nephew Damon Fielder in Los Padres National Forest in California, triggering a forest fire that burned several hundred acres and nearly caused his death.


Johnny Cash claimed that the fire was caused by sparks from a defective exhaust system on his camper, but Fielder thinks that Johnny Cash started a fire to stay warm and in his drugged condition failed to notice the fire getting out of control.


Johnny Cash posted a $1,500 bond and was released until his arraignment.


Johnny Cash's Sings the Ballads of the True West was an experimental double record, mixing authentic frontier songs with Cash's spoken narration.


Johnny Cash was last arrested in 1967 in Walker County, Georgia, after police found he was carrying a bag of prescription pills and was in a car accident.


Johnny Cash attempted to bribe a local deputy, who turned the money down.


Johnny Cash was jailed for the night in LaFayette, Georgia.


Johnny Cash credited that experience with helping him turn around and save his life.


Johnny Cash later returned to LaFayette to play a benefit concert; it attracted 12,000 people and raised $75,000 for the high school.


Johnny Cash proposed onstage to June on February 22,1968, at a concert at the London Gardens in London, Ontario, Canada.


Johnny Cash took an "altar call" in Evangel Temple, a small church in the Nashville area, pastored by Reverend Jimmie Rodgers Snow, son of country music legend Hank Snow.


Johnny Cash did not end all drug use until 1970, staying drug-free for a period of seven years.


Johnny Cash stayed off drugs for several years, but relapsed.


Johnny Cash began performing concerts at prisons in the late 1950s.


Johnny Cash played his first famous prison concert on January 1,1958, at San Quentin State Prison.


Johnny Cash performed at the Osteraker Prison in Sweden in 1972.


Johnny Cash used his stardom and economic status to bring awareness to the issues surrounding the Native American people.


Johnny Cash sang songs about indigenous humanity in an effort to confront the US government.


Columbia Music, the label for which Johnny Cash was recording then, was opposed to putting the song on his next album, considering it "too radical for the public".


Johnny Cash singing songs of Indian tragedy and settler violence went radically against the mainstream of country music in the 1950s, which was dominated by the image of the righteous cowboy who simply makes the native's soil his own.


Later, on The Johnny Cash Show, he continued telling stories of Native-American plight, both in song and through short films, such as the history of the Trail of Tears.


In 1966, in response to his activism, Johnny Cash was adopted by the Seneca Nation's Turtle Clan.


Johnny Cash performed benefits in 1968 at the Rosebud Reservation, close to the historical landmark of the massacre at Wounded Knee, to raise money to help build a school.


Johnny Cash played at the D-Q University in the 1980s.


In 1970, Cash recorded a reading of John G Burnett's 1890,80th-birthday essay on Cherokee removal for the Historical Landmarks Association.


From June 1969 to March 1971, Cash starred in his own television show, The Johnny Cash Show, on the ABC network.


Johnny Cash enjoyed booking mainstream performers as guests; including Linda Ronstadt in her first TV appearance, Neil Young, Louis Armstrong, Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers and The First Edition, James Taylor, Ray Charles, Roger Miller, Roy Orbison, Derek and the Dominos, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan.


Also during The Johnny Cash Show era, he contributed the title song and other songs to the film Little Fauss and Big Halsy, which starred Robert Redford, Michael J Pollard, and Lauren Hutton.


Johnny Cash had first met with Dylan in the mid-1960s and became neighbors in the late 1960s in Woodstock, New York.


Johnny Cash was enthusiastic about reintroducing the reclusive Dylan to his audience.


Johnny Cash sang a duet with Dylan, "Girl from the North Country", on Dylan's country album Nashville Skyline and wrote the album's Grammy-winning liner notes.


The closing program of The Johnny Cash Show was a gospel music special.


Johnny Cash regularly performed in entirely black suits with a long, black, knee-length coat.


Johnny Cash said he wore all black on behalf of the poor and hungry, the "prisoner who has long paid for his crime", and those who have been betrayed by age or drugs.


Johnny Cash wore other colors on stage early in his career, but he claimed to like wearing black both on and off stage.


Johnny Cash stated that political reasons aside, he simply liked black as his on-stage color.


Johnny Cash made commercials for Amoco and STP, an unpopular enterprise at the time of the 1970s energy crisis.


Johnny Cash viewed the film as a statement of his personal faith rather than a means of proselytizing.


Johnny Cash has appeared on television, hosting Christmas specials on CBS in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


Johnny Cash gave a performance as abolitionist John Brown in the 1985 American Civil War television miniseries North and South.


Johnny Cash was friendly with every US president, starting with Richard Nixon.


Johnny Cash wrote that the reasons for denying Nixon's song choices were not knowing them and having fairly short notice to rehearse them, rather than any political reason.


However, Johnny Cash added, even if Nixon's office had given Johnny Cash enough time to learn and rehearse the songs, their choice of pieces that conveyed "antihippie and antiblack" sentiments might have backfired.


Johnny Cash was the grand marshal of the United States Bicentennial parade.


Johnny Cash wore a shirt from Nudie Cohn which sold for $25,000 in auction in 2010.


In 1980, Johnny Cash became the Country Music Hall of Fame's youngest living inductee at age 48, but during the 1980s, his records failed to make a major impact on the country charts, although he continued to tour successfully.


Johnny Cash relapsed into addiction after being administered painkillers for a serious abdominal injury in 1983 caused by an incident in which he was kicked and wounded by an ostrich on his farm.


At a hospital visit in 1988, this time to watch over Waylon Jennings, Jennings suggested that Johnny Cash have himself checked into the hospital for his own heart condition.


Doctors recommended preventive heart surgery, and Johnny Cash underwent double bypass surgery in the same hospital.


Johnny Cash later claimed that during his operation, he had what is called a "near-death experience".


Around this time, Johnny Cash recorded an album of gospel recordings that ended up being released by another label around the time of his departure from Columbia.


In 1986, Johnny Cash returned to Sun Studios in Memphis to team up with Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins to create the album Class of '55; according to Hilburn, Columbia still had Johnny Cash under contract at the time, so special arrangements had to be made to allow him to participate.


Also in 1986, Johnny Cash published his only novel, Man in White, a book about Saul and his conversion to become the Apostle Paul.


Johnny Cash recorded Johnny Cash Reads The Complete New Testament in 1990.


Johnny Cash wrote that his reception at the 1994 Glastonbury Festival was one of the highlights of his career.


Johnny Cash lent his voice for a cameo role in The Simpsons episode "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer ", as the "Space Coyote" that guides Homer Simpson on a spiritual quest.


Johnny Cash was joined by guitarist Kim Thayil of Soundgarden, bassist Krist Novoselic of Nirvana, and drummer Sean Kinney of Alice in Chains for a cover of Willie Nelson's "Time of the Preacher", featured on the tribute album Twisted Willie, released in January 1996.


In 1996, Johnny Cash collaborated with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on Unchained, which won the Best Country Album Grammy in 1998.


Johnny Cash was hospitalized in 1998 with severe pneumonia, which damaged his lungs.


Johnny Cash even performed surprise shows at the Carter Family Fold outside Bristol, Virginia.


At the July 5,2003, concert, before singing "Ring of Fire", Johnny Cash read a statement that he had written shortly before taking the stage:.


Johnny Cash 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.


Johnny Cash was buried next to her at Hendersonville Memory Gardens near his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.


On July 18,1951, while in Air Force basic training, Johnny Cash met 17-year-old Italian-American Vivian Liberto at a roller skating rink in San Antonio, Texas.


In 1961, Johnny Cash moved his family to a hilltop home overlooking Casitas Springs, California.


Johnny Cash had previously moved his parents to the area to run a small trailer park called the Johnny Cash Trailer Park.


Johnny Cash's drinking led to several run-ins with local law enforcement.


In 1968, thirteen years after they first met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Johnny Cash proposed to June, during a live performance in London, Ontario.


Johnny Cash was raised by his parents in the Southern Baptist denomination of Christianity.


Johnny Cash was baptized in 1944 in the Tyronza River as a member of the Central Baptist Church of Dyess, Arkansas.


Johnny Cash penned a Christian novel, Man in White, in 1986, and in the introduction writes about a reporter, who, interested in Johnny Cash's religious beliefs, questioned whether the book is written from a Baptist, Catholic, or Jewish perspective.


At a Tallahassee Crusade in 1986, June and Johnny Cash sang his song "One of These Days I'm Gonna Sit Down and Talk to Paul".


At a performance in Arkansas in 1989, Johnny Cash spoke to attendees of his commitment to the salvation of drug dealers and alcoholics.


Johnny Cash recorded several gospel albums and made a spoken-word recording of the entire New King James Version of the New Testament.


Johnny Cash declared he was "the biggest sinner of them all", and viewed himself overall as a complicated and contradictory man.


Johnny Cash is credited with having converted actor and singer John Schneider to Christianity.


Johnny Cash nurtured and defended artists on the fringes of what was acceptable in country music even while serving as the country music establishment's most visible symbol.


Johnny Cash himself appeared at the end and performed for the first time in more than a year.


The Johnny Cash Museum, located in one of Cash's properties in Hendersonville until 2006, dubbed the House of Cash, was sold based on Cash's will.


The incident inspired Johnny Cash to write the song "Starkville City Jail".


On February 8,2018, the album Forever Words was announced, putting music to poems that Johnny Cash had written and which were published in book form in 2016.


Crow, who had originally written and recorded the song in 1996, recorded new vocals and added them to those of Johnny Cash, who recorded the song for his American VI: Ain't No Grave album.


In November 2005, Walk the Line, a biographical film about Johnny Cash's life, was released in the United States to considerable commercial success and critical acclaim.


On March 12,2006, Ring of Fire, a jukebox musical of the Johnny Cash oeuvre, debuted on Broadway at the Ethel Barrymore Theater, but closed due to harsh reviews and disappointing sales on April 30.


Johnny Cash received multiple Country Music Association Awards, Grammys, and other awards, in categories ranging from vocal and spoken performances to album notes and videos.


Johnny Cash was a musician who was not defined by a single genre.


Johnny Cash recorded songs that could be considered rock and roll, blues, rockabilly, folk, and gospel, and exerted an influence on each of those genres.


Johnny Cash's diversity was evidenced by his presence in five major music halls of fame: the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, GMA's Gospel Music Hall of Fame.


Johnny Cash received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1996 and stated that his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980 was his greatest professional achievement.