Rock-it Radio's Tribute to Johnny Cash

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A Tribute to Johnny Cash -- Rockabilly Legend to Country Superstar!

Below was the CNN Obituary of Johnny Cash's Career

Perhaps the most widely recognized voice in country music, Cash recorded more than 1,500 songs. His career spanned more than four decades with trademark hits like "A Boy Named Sue," "Folsom Prison Blues, "Ring of Fire" and "I Walk the Line." His success crossed well over onto the pop scene. He had 48 singles on Billboard's pop charts, rivaling both the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys. His 11 Grammys included a lifetime achievement award and the 1998 Grammy for country album of the year ("Unchained"). It's said that more than 100 other recording artists and groups have recorded "I Walk the Line." "Johnny Cash was not only a giant in our business, but he was one of those guys who had grown to become a cultural icon in America," Ed Benson, executive director of the Country Music Association, told WTVF-TV in Nashville. "People associated him with values that I think they held near and dear to their hearts." "I am deeply saddened by the loss of my children's grandfather and my very dear friend," added singer and songwriter Rodney Crowell, who was once married to Cash's daughter Rosanne, in a statement. "I loved big John with all my heart. ... Johnny Cash will, like Will Rogers, stand forever as a symbol of intelligence, creativity, compassion and common sense."

A child of the Depression, J.R. Cash was born February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas. Cash's parents took advantage of a New Deal farm program, moving their large family to Dyess Colony in northeast Arkansas. There they farmed cotton during the day and sang hymns on the porch at night. When he was 12, his 14-year-old brother, Jack, died after an accident. Cash acknowledged the death had a profound impact on his music, and he noted it may have been once reason for his music's melancholy tinge. After high school, he enlisted in the Air Force. The military wouldn't accept initials, so Cash chose John as his new first name. While stationed in Germany, Cash bought his first guitar and started a band. "All through the Air Force, I was so lonely for those three years," Cash told The Associated Press during a 1996 interview. "If I couldn't have sung all those old country songs, I don't think I could have made it." When his hitch was over, Cash moved to Memphis where he sold appliances door-to-door while trying to break into the music business. In 1954, he auditioned for Sam Phillips at Sun Records, hoping to record some simple gospel songs. Instead, Phillips -- who had discovered Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis -- pushed Cash toward a more commercial sound. Cash's first single, "Hey Porter," had a disappointing debut. But his follow-up, the 1955 "Cry, Cry, Cry," drew national attention. "Folsom Prison Blues" went into the Top Five in country singles in 1956, and "I Walk the Line" became Cash's first No. 1 country hit. In 1957, he made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. And by 1958, he'd published 50 songs, sold more than 6 million records and moved to the Columbia label. It was at the Opry that Cash became known as "The Man in Black." "Everybody was wearing rhinestones, all those sparkle clothes and cowboy boots," he said in 1986. "I decided to wear a black shirt and pants and see if I could get by with it. I did and I've worn black clothes ever since."

Through the late 1950s and into the 1960s, Cash continued to have huge hits, including "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," "I Got Stripes," "Ring of Fire," and "The Ballad of Ira Hayes." He toured worldwide and played free shows at prisons in the United States -- he first played San Quentin in 1958 when a young Merle Haggard was in the audience. Living and working at a hectic pace, Cash became dependent on drugs. They took a toll on his career and ended his first marriage, to Vivian Liberto, in 1966. Fame, he said in 1988, "was hard to handle. That's why I turned to pills." By 1967, Cash had overcome his addiction with the help of his singing partner, June Carter. Carter co-wrote (with Merle Kilgore) "Ring of Fire" about their early attraction; Cash made it his own. "It's a sad day in Tennessee, but a great day in Heaven," said Kilgore in a statement about Cash's passing. "The 'Man in Black' is now wearing white as he joins his wife June in the angel band." Kilgore was best man at Cash's 1968 wedding to Carter. Cash started making a comeback. By the end of the '60s, he owned the voice of country music. In the fall of 1969, he was considered by many to be the hottest act in the world, even outselling the Beatles. That year, his work accounted for 5 percent of all record sales in the U.S. "The Johnny Cash Show" aired on ABC from 1969 to 1971 and featured guests as diverse as Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Joni Mitchell and Louis Armstrong. In the 1970s, Cash continued to record, although his work became more progressive and less commercial. Having never given up his fondness for gospel music, Cash co-wrote (with Larry Murray) and produced a film based on the life of Jesus. "The Gospel Road" was released in 1973, with Cash providing narration and Carter in the role of Mary Magdelene. Cash's 1975 autobiography, also called "Man in Black," sold 1.3 million copies. In 1980, at 48, Cash became the Country Music Hall of Fame's youngest living inductee. He was part of the highly successful Highwaymen quartet with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Kris Kristofferson. When drug problems returned with the use of pain killers, Cash entered the Betty Ford Clinic. Late in the decade, Cash's radio popularity was fading -- a more contemporary sound was moving into country -- and he broke with Columbia. A new contract with Mercury Nashville didn't reflect his earlier success, but concert performances remained big sellers.

Rock-it Radio Online featured a tribute broadcast to Johnny Cash as soon as the newswires sent word of his passing.
That show is still available at the Rock-it Store thru the following link below.
Bennie Dingo
Tribute to Johnny Cash - The SUN years
Rock-it Radio show #764

Johnny Cash at home practicing what is to be one of his many hits!

Johnny Cash LP - I Walk the Line -- One of SUN Records First LP's and put Johnny Cash and a huge turning point for Johnny Cash!

Johnny Cash with Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis at SUN Records. Referred to as the Million Dollar Quartet.

Johnny Cash with Elvis Presley back in the SUN Record Studio.

Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison.
Johnny Cash at SUN Records - Memphis, Tennessee

In Late 1954 - Johnny Cash entered the Memphis Recording Studio and the home of SUN Records. Owner Sam Phillips was not sure of Johnny at first, as his audition was an old gospel ballad and SUN records was not in the market for Gospel. In a pinch and challenged by Sam Phillips - Johnny knew one other song - A Song he wrote while in the Air Force -- Folsom Prison Blues. It was the cutting edge sound that would soon help mold the Famous SUN Record "Sound". Johnny recorded it and immediately signed to Sun as Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two, their first single, "Cry, Cry, Cry," became a moderate country hit. After the two sided smash "So Doggone Lonesome" b/w "Folsom Prison Blues," the group had their first major pop/country hit with Cash's own "I Walk the Line" in 1956. The group appeared on the Louisiana Hayride in December 1955, becoming regulars, before graduating to the Grand Ole Opry in July 1956. They subsequently achieved major pop/top country hits with "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" and "Guess Things Happen That Way" in 1958. That year the group became Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three with the addition of SUN Record Session Man - W.S. Holland, one of country music's first drummers.

On August 1958, the group switched to Columbia Records as the SUN Record Company was slowly fading with Elvis going to RCA and Jerry Lee Lewis' fall of fame. Soon having a moderate pop/top hit with "Don't Take Your Guns to Town." Leaving the Grand Ole Opry and moving to California, Cash started working with June Carter of the legendary Carter Family, in 1961. feeling the strain of constant touring, and the collapse of his first marriage and death of friend Johnny Horton, Cash began taking amphetamines and tranquilizers to cope. In 1963 he scored his first major pop/top hit with Columbia with "Ring of Fire."

Johnny Cash Sun Record Recording Sessions and discography

Since Rock-it Radio plays a lot of Rockabilly online and we are big fans of the SUN Sound - We thought we would post here the Recording sessions and discography of Johnny Cash with SUN Records here. Unless otherwise noted the recording sessions included Johnny Cash on vocal & guitar. Luther Perkins on Guitar Marshall Grant on Bass

1. SUN Record studios - Date Unknown -- Late 1954 - Early 1955
-- Folsom Prison Blues (alt. take #1)(unissued)
-- Folsom Prison Blues (alt. take #2)(unissued)
-- Wide Open Road (alt. take)(originally unissued-Later overdubbed and issued on SUN Release #363 in 1961)
-- Wide Open Road (Master Cut)(unissued)
-- Hey Porter (Unissued)
-- Good Timin' Woman (overdubbed and Later issued later on SUN Record LP1275)
-- Goodnight Irene (overdubbed and later issued on SUN LP 1275)
-- My Treasure (later issued on SUN #363 in 1961)

2. SUN Record Studios - Recording Date -- May 1955
-- Cry, Cry, Cry (Issued as SUN Record Release #221)
-- Hey Porter (Issued on SUN Records #221)
-- Folsom Prison Blues (Issued as Sun #232)
-- Doggone Lonesome (Issued as SUN #232)
-- Luther played the Boogie (Later issued as SUN #316)
-- Mean eyed cat (later issued as SUN #347)

3. SUN Record Studios - Recording Date -- Unknown 1955
-- I couldn't keep from crying (Issued on SUN LP 115)
-- New Mexico (overdubbed and Issued on SUN LP 1275)

4. Recorded at RADIO Station KWEM - West Memphis, Arkansas - June 1955
-- Rock and Roll Ruby (released as Cash #1955) Extremely rare!

5. SUN Record studios -- April 2, 1956
-- Get Rhythm (Released on Sun #241)
-- I walk the line (Released on Sun #241)
-- There you go (unissued)

6. Sun Record Studios -- August 8, 1956
-- Train of Love (released on SUN #258)
-- There you go (released on SUN #258)

7. SUN Record Studios -- October 1, 1956
-- One more ride (never completed and unissued)

8. SUN Record Studios -- December 13, 1956
** Besides the Tennessee 2 - Recording session included either Russell Smith or J.M. Van Eaton on drums and Jerry Lee Lewis on Piano.
-- Goodbye Little Darlin' (Released on SUN #231)
-- I Love you because (Released on SUN #334)
-- Straight A's in Love (Released on SUN #334)

9. Sun Record Studios -- April 7, 1957
-- Don't make me go (Released on SUN #266)
-- Next in line (Released on SUN #266)

10. Sun Record Studios -- July 1, 1957
-- Home of the Blues (released on SUN #279)
-- Give my love to Rose (released on SUN #279)
11. Sun Record Studios -- August 1957 (exact date unknown)
-- Rock Island line (Released on SUN LP 1220)
-- The Wreck of the Old 97 (Released on SUN LP 1220)
-- Belshazaar (Released on SUN LP 1275)

12. Sun Record Studios -- Johnny Cash Solo Recording Session August 4, 1957
-- Leave that Junk alone (Unissued)
-- Country Boy (released on SUN LP 1220)
-- Doin' my time (released on SUN LP 1220)
-- If the good Lord's willing (Unissued)
-- I heard that lonesome whistle blow(released on SUN LP 1220 and 1270)
-- I was there when it happened (released on SUN LP 1220)

13. Sun Record Studio -- October 11, 1957
-- Come in Stranger (unissued)

14. Sun Record Studio -- November 12, 1957
-- Big River (Released as SUN #283)
-- Ballad of a Teenage Queen (Released as SUN #283)

15. Sun Record Studio -- April 9, 1958
-- Guess things happen that way (released on SUN #295)
-- Come in Stranger (released on SUN #295)
-- Oh Lonesome Me (released on SUN LP 1250)

16. Sun Record Studio -- May 15, 1958
-- Sugartime (overdubbed and released on SUN #363)
-- You're the nearest thing to heaven (originally featured an overdubbed vocal by Johnny Cash which was removed and replaced with a chorus before release)(released on SUN #355)
-- Born to lose (released on SUN #376)
-- Always Alone (released on SUN LP 1275)
-- Story of a broken heart (Released on SUN #343)
-- You tell me (Released on SUN LP 1240)
-- Life goes on (Released on SUN LP 1250)
-- I could never be ashamed of you (released on SUN LP 1240 & 1245)
-- You win again (released on SUN LP 1240 & 1245)
-- Cold Cold Heart (released on SUN LP 122)
-- Hey Good Lookin' (released on SUN LP 1240 & 1245)
-- I can't help it (released on SUN LP 1235 & 1245)

17. Sun Record Studio -- May 28, 1958
-- Blue Train (released as SUN #376)
-- Katy Too (released as SUN #321)

18. Sun Record Studio -- July 10, 1958
** Johnny Cash along with the Tennessee 2 plus J.M. Van Eaton on drums; Jimmy Wilson on Piano; The Confederates on vocal overdub with Billy Lee Riley on Guitar on overdub
-- Fools Hall of Fame (released on SUN LP 122)
-- The ways of a woman in love (released as SUN #302)
-- Thanks a lot (released as SUN #316)

19. SUN Record Studio -- July 17, 1958
** Johnny Cash along with the Tennessee 2 Plus Charlie Rich on Piano; Jimmy Van Eaton on drums; And The Confederates on Vocal overdub.
-- It's Just about time (released as SUN #309)
-- I just thought you would like to know (released on SUN #309)
-- Down the street to 301 (released as SUN #343)
-- I forgot to remember to forget (released on SUN #321)

With this session the SUN Record Contract ended and Johnny Cash moved to Columbia Records.

Collectable Johnny Cash Music Now being sold

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