Johnny Cash, American country singer and songwriter died nine years ago today. Cash established an international profile as an ambassador of American roots music. He overcame personal demons to reach superstar status in the late 1960's and continued to carve out his own career musically through the 1980's and 1990's. A prolific songwriter and an astute selector of songs from the pens of others, his music appeals to both rock and country audiences. Cash has been honoured for his commanding position in music history through election to the Country Music Hall of Fame (1980), the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1992), and as a recepient of the Grammy Legend Award (1990).
He grew up in NE Arkansas during the Depression, where he worked in the cotton fields with his family, absorbing country and gospel music. He served four years in Germany in the US airforce, where he first began to sing and write songs. When he returned from Germany, he successfully auditioned for the Sun Studios in Memphis in 1954, and there he found himself working alongside Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. He had hits in the country music charts, including I walk the line which launched his career nationally and has become his signature tune. A move to Columbia Records in 1968 enabled him to appeal to both country and folk audiences, and, like Woody Guthrie, his song-writing chronicled life at the margins, often drawn from his own experiences. Read more »