Johnny Cash

cash2February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003

Four words that changed American music forever:

“Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”

John Cash defied genre. Sure, he is most remembered as a rebel country artist who’s trademark black clothes earned him the nickname “The Man In Black.” But, throughout his iconic career, he crossed over into many other genres including rock, gospel, folk and blues, netting millions of diverse fans along the way. He is one of only two artists (that I know of) who are inductees in the Rock and Roll, Country Music and Gospel Halls of Fame (the other being some kid named Elvis.)  Johnny’s life ran the gambit of highs and lows. He struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol, infidelity and depression. On the flip side, he found a kindred in second wife, June Carter, re-embraced the Christian faith of his youth and enjoyed late career resurgences with both The Highwaymen – a supergroup of sorts with fellow “outlaws” Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson – and his final recording sessions with famed rock producer Rick Rubin. The latter of which led to Cash’s legacy reaching a new generation of fans as he doled out stripped down covers of contemporary pop/rock songs.

Johnny Cash certainly had a mystique about him. Though he never served more than a night in jail, he struck a cultural chord with his free concerts inside prison walls in the 1950’s. His massive hit “Folsom Prison Blues” became an anthem and one of the defining songs of his career.  His outlaw image, however, belied his continually sobering demeanor. His health deteriorated as he struggled with diabetes and other ailments and in September of 2003, just under four months after losing his beloved June, the Man in Black breathed his last. But, we’ll be hearing from him for a long time to come, I imagine.

Burial

Hendersonville Memory Gardens – Hendersonville, TN

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Specific Location

Garden of Matthew; At the north end of the park, June and Johnny’s markers are easy to spot from the sidewalk.

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