View Full Version : Morning ponderings on Johnny Cash

12-09-2012, 04:31 AM
Since playing the uke, like all of us, I go to youtube to help learn new songs. I have watched some Johnny Cash vids over the last couple of years. This morning I watched a vid with Johnny & June Cash singing Jackson. Johnny Cash always had this hard guy outlaw image but watching videos of him I think, that is one happy man. I think it was all image and not even close to the truth, particularly after hooking up with June Carter, which let's face it, was most of his adult life.
Just my morning pondering.

12-09-2012, 04:41 AM
Read his autobiography. cash the man had some dark times for sure
He was very religious and he always came across in the book as just being grateful
He got to get away with so much and have such a good life. The story where hes almost killed by an
Ostrich while whacked out on valium is hysterical. But yeah overall I think your right he was a pretty
Happy guy. Shame hes gone.

12-09-2012, 05:14 AM
I started some book about him and got distracted about the time he was in the army. His life hadn't gotten to wild before then. I have a new appreciation of him ( and other artist) since starting up on the uke and paying closer attention to music.

12-09-2012, 05:27 AM
Have you seen the movie "Walk The Line"? It probably minimizes good times in Cash's life and emphasizes his struggles (with the music industry, addiction, June Carter, etc.) but Joaquin Phoenix looks very happy when he sings Jackson with Reece Witherspoon, for what that's worth.

12-09-2012, 05:34 AM
At the risk of sounding cheesy, all you really have to do is watch the "Hurt" video. Might have been timing, but you can see the electricity between the two, and yes- he was happy enough that he was not going to live without her for long.
Now Hank...totally different story

12-09-2012, 06:46 AM
Okay I don't really know a lot about Johnny Cash's life, just seems his addictions and trouble was as a young man but after getting together with June Carter that as all in his past, wasn't it? It seems the outlaw image was just that. At any rate, I like watching his videos. Dave I just watched the Hurt video, I had seen it before, it is powerful, but is it autobiographical? Okay this may be cheesy but I want to believe Johnny and June lived happily ever after.

12-09-2012, 07:00 AM
Hey Rox- no, that is a Nine Inch Nails song Johnny covered.
I reckon it is a pretty good fit though. Johnny was far from perfect when he met June, and through a great part of their time together. He'd stumble, she'd be there to pick him up. I think that is why you can see it on their faces in every performance I have ever seen (a relationship like that is rarely ever perfect-that's what provides it's strength the way I see it). Mel is the big Cash fan here, and I never really got it, until I watched them, and spent some time building up my collection of his stuff for Melissa. The live stuff they did together is priceless- made perfect sense then.
Okay I don't really know a lot about Johnny Cash's life, just seems his addictions and trouble was as a young man but after getting together with June Carter that as all in his past, wasn't it? It seems the outlaw image was just that. At any rate, I like watching his videos. Dave I just watched the Hurt video, I had seen it before, it is powerful, but is it autobiographical? Okay this may be cheesy but I want to believe Johnny and June lived happily ever after.

12-09-2012, 07:20 AM
The Man in Black certainly deserved his outlaw image. Struggles with alcohol and drugs got him in plenty of trouble over the years.

However, June had a pretty profound influence on him and their marriage and relationship are the stuff of Country Music legend.


From Wikipedia:

Outlaw image

As his career was taking off in the late 1950s, Cash started drinking heavily and became addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates. For a brief time, he shared an apartment in Nashville with Waylon Jennings, who was heavily addicted to amphetamines. Cash used the uppers to stay awake during tours. Friends joked about his "nervousness" and erratic behavior, many ignoring the warning signs of his worsening drug addiction. In a behind-the-scenes look at The Johnny Cash Show, Cash claims to have "tried every drug there was to try."

Although in many ways spiraling out of control, Cash's frenetic creativity was still delivering hits. His rendition of "Ring of Fire" was a crossover hit, reaching No. 1 on the country charts and entering the Top 20 on the pop charts. The song was written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. The song was originally performed by June's sister, but the signature mariachi-style horn arrangement was provided by Cash, who said that it had come to him in a dream.

In June 1965, his truck caught fire due to an overheated wheel bearing, triggering a forest fire that burnt several hundred acres in Los Padres National Forest in California.[41][42] When the judge asked Cash why he did it, Cash said, "I didn't do it, my truck did, and it's dead, so you can't question it."[22][page needed] The fire destroyed 508 acres (206 ha), burning the foliage off three mountains and killing 49 of the refuge's 53 endangered condors.

Cash was unrepentant: "I don't care about your damn yellow buzzards." The federal government sued him and was awarded $125,172 ($923127 in 2012 dollars). Cash eventually settled the case and paid $82,001.[43] He said he was the only person ever sued by the government for starting a forest fire.[22][page needed]

Although Cash carefully cultivated a romantic outlaw image, he never served a prison sentence. Despite landing in jail seven times for misdemeanors, each stay lasted only a single night. His most infamous run-in with the law occurred while on tour in 1965, when he was arrested October 4 by a narcotics squad in El Paso, TX. The officers suspected that he was smuggling heroin from Mexico, but it was 688 Dexedrine capsules and 475 Equanil tablets that the singer had hidden inside his guitar case. Because they were prescription drugs rather than illegal narcotics, he received a suspended sentence.

Johnny Cash and his second wife, June Carter

Cash was later arrested on May 11, 1965, in Starkville, Mississippi, for trespassing late at night onto private property to pick flowers. (This incident gave the spark for the song "Starkville City Jail", which he spoke about on his live At San Quentin prison album.)

In the mid 1960s, Cash released a number of concept albums, including Sings the Ballads of the True West (1965), an experimental double record mixing authentic frontier songs with Cash's spoken narration, and Bitter Tears (1964), with songs highlighting the plight of the Native Americans. His drug addiction was at its worst at this point, and his destructive behavior led to a divorce from his first wife and canceled performances. In 1967, Cash's duet with June Carter, "Jackson", won a Grammy Award.

Johnny Cash's final arrest was in Walker County, GA where he was taken in after being involved in a car accident while carrying a bag of prescription pills. Cash attempted to bribe a local deputy, who turned the money down, and then spent the night in a LaFayette, Georgia jail. The singer was released after a long talk with Sheriff Ralph Jones, who warned him of his dangerous behavior and wasted potential. Johnny credited that experience for saving his life, and he later came back to LaFayette to play a benefit concert that attracted 12,000 people (the city population was less than 9,000 at the time) and raised $75,000 for the high school.[44]

Cash curtailed his use of drugs for several years in 1968, after a spiritual epiphany in the Nickajack Cave, when he attempted to commit suicide while under the heavy influence of drugs. He descended deeper into the cave, trying to lose himself and "just die", when he passed out on the floor. He reported to be exhausted and feeling at the end of his rope when he felt God's presence in his heart and managed to struggle out of the cave (despite the exhaustion) by following a faint light and slight breeze. To him, it was his own rebirth. June, Maybelle, and Ezra Carter moved into Cash's mansion for a month to help him conquer his addiction.

Cash proposed onstage to June at a concert at the London Gardens in London, ON, CA on February 22, 1968; the couple married a week later (on March 1) in Franklin, KY. June had agreed to marry Cash after he had "cleaned up".[45] He rediscovered his Christian faith, taking an "altar call" in Evangel Temple, a small church in the Nashville area, pastored by Rev. Jimmie Rodgers Snow, son of country music legend Hank Snow.

According to longtime friend Marshall Grant, Cash's 1968 rebirth experience did not result in his completely stopping use of amphetamines. However, in 1970, Cash ended all drug use for a period of seven years. Grant claims that the birth of Cash's son, John Carter Cash, inspired Cash to end his dependence. Cash began using amphetamines again in 1977. By 1983, he was once again addicted, and entered the Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho Mirage, CA for rehabilitation. Cash managed to stay off drugs for several years, but by 1989, he was dependent again and entered Nashville's Cumberland Heights Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center. In 1992, he entered the Loma Linda Behavioural Medicine Centre in Loma Linda, California for his final rehabilitation (several months later, his son followed him into this facility for treatment).[46][47][48]


12-09-2012, 08:04 AM
My mother was a country music songwriter in the late 60s and through the 70s and I was surrounded by the biggest names in Nashville at the time. Johnny Cash was not alone in his addiction. Lots of performers were hooked and many drank way too much. Between watching them and my Irish clan drinking themselves into the grave, I vowed to never ever get drunk and I have never been. I also had a no drugs rule when I played rock and roll and no drinking during performances. It has kept me from every straying in that way.

I do enjoy a glass of wine with dinner, but, again, never been drunk.

12-09-2012, 08:16 AM
What a great thread and i myself am a massive fan of the man in black, a true legend and June really did complete him and gave him the strength,love,support and belief in himself and everything, so wonderfull to see a couple so in love and a deep friendship and respect to, the world is certainly worse off without these 2 in it, but we have some wonderful memories of them to live on for ever. Johnny Cash's appeal is just so fantastic as his music was loved,is loved by those across the full music spectrum, although not a religious person myself, i can say i worship at the altar of Mr Cash, he really is inspiring and he was certainly a survivor, i to have read several books on the great man, and can pretty much listen to his music non stop and as a little tribute to this great thread, here is a little tune i di way back in the very small glimmer of summer that we had in the UK.


12-09-2012, 08:23 AM
I'm not a country fan particularly however I was lucky enough to see JC at Glastonbury. He was fantastic!

12-09-2012, 09:56 AM
I love the "Live from Folsom Prison" recording of "Jackson." Johnny and June's chemistry is very apparent and their banter charming. My husband and I recorded it for a UU thread a couple of years ago. (We do a number of JC songs. :D)