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Johnny Cash. Bio. Born February 26, 1932 in Kingsland, Arkansas Born as John R. Cash Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist, Advocate Nickname: the Man in Black Music innovatively mixed country, rock, blues, and gospel. Musical Influences . Old folk songs

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  • Born February 26, 1932 in Kingsland, Arkansas
    • Born as John R. Cash
  • Singer, Songwriter, Guitarist, Advocate
  • Nickname: the Man in Black
  • Music innovatively mixed country, rock, blues, and gospel
musical influences
Musical Influences
  • Old folk songs
  • Religious tunes and hymn ballads sung by his mother
  • The work songs he heard people singing out in the fields throughout childhood.
  • Country music that played on local radio stations
  • Hank Snow, Cowboy Copas, Gene Autry, Ernest Tubb
individual style
Individual Style



Remained true to the rich storytelling tradition of country music

Lyrics embraced realism; unapologetically identified with the oppressed.

Social and political issues

Simple but powerful songs of elemental experiences

  • Country and Western: white American folk music
  • Flexible blend of country, rock n’ roll and folk music
  • Excessive tenderness
  • Noted for its stripped-down sound
  • Free-form guitar
  • Musical career began with him as the front man for Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two morphing into Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three.
    • Their sound was a synthesis of blues and country-and-western music that eventually coined the term “rockabilly”
  • Toured as opening act for Elvis in 1955 prior to signing with Sun Records and releasing a string of hit singles in 1956

Listen for blending of country, bluegrass, blues, gospel and swing jazz. Strong vocal backed by simple melodies. String instruments

  • Wrote “Folsom Prison Blues” while stationed in Germany in 1953.
  • True fame arrived in 1956 when Cash wrote “I Walk The Line” ---Launched to number one and sold 2 million copies
  • “Get Rhythm” is a 1950’s rockabilly song about optimism. First number one single on the country charts.
  • Deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice
    • It commanded attention, and contributed to the believability.
  • 48 singles on the Billboard charts and 26 albums on the pop charts between 1955 and 1972.
  • More than 50 million records sold.
  • Appeared on numerous musical television shows such as the Grand Ole Opry and The Ed Sullivan Show.

“Johnny’s voice was so big, it made the world grow small.”

–Bob Dylan


Received 23 GMI Awards for writing countless American Classics

His songs speak of the human experience and the people who work for the American Dream

social impact
Social Impact

Embraced the radical social justice movements of the 60’s.

Protested Vietnam; played for the troops

Vocal champion for penal reform

musical impact

"Johnny Cash transcends all musical boundaries, and is one of the original outlaws."

-Willie Nelson

Musical Impact

Occupies spots in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1992), Songwriter’s Hall of Fame (1989), and the Country Music Hall of Fame (1980).

Country music icon around the globe


“Johnny Cash helped show the world what happens when rural sensibilities and values mix musically with the urban environment. Over the years he demonstrated a broad musical perspective, never being afraid to record songs of social commentary.”

-Lyle Lovett