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Johnny Cash

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Johnny Cash

Quite possibly one of the most recognizable voices in music belongs to Johnny Cash. His music spanned into the genera's of country, folk, rock and even gospel music, this shows that J.R. Cash was one of the most fascinating performers in popular music. In addition to being one of the most popular artists of all time, he also gained respect as an author and actor.

Born Feb. 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas. J.R. was the second oldest of six children belonging to Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash. When John was 3 years old, his father moved his young family to Dyess Colony in northeast Arkansas where the Cash family farmed over 20 acres of cotton. John spent most of his childhood working in the fields with his family where his mother would sing songs to keep the children's minds at ease.

John was really close to his oldest brother Jack, and at the time it was his only brother.

Music was an essential part of everyday life in the Cash household. Every night John would listen to the radio until it was time for bed. His mother's songs in the fields and the songs on the radio is where John became more influenced by music. These childhood memories influenced some of his popular songs in his music career. "Pickin' Time," "Five Feet High and Rising" and "Look at Them Beans" are some songs that John later wrote to tell the world about his childhood.

Cash remained in Dyess Colony until his graduation from high school in 1950. After graduation, John moved to Detroit in search of work and found a job in an automotive plant. Soon to find out that this is not what he wanted, he enlisted into the Air Force and eventually sent to Landsberg, Germany. While he was enlisted in the service, he joined up with a couple guys and formed a band that they called the Landsberg barbarians.

After leaving the Air Force, John came back to America and married Vivian Liberto, who he met at basic training in Texas. Soon after the wedding, John and Vivian moved to Memphis to try and peruse a career in music. While in Memphis, John tried to earn money as a door-to-door salesman. While still in search to make it big as a music star, John and his wife started struggling with bills and were threatened by the landlords to be evicted from their new home. The two newly weds were also expecting a child on the way.

In 1954, John auditioned at Sam Phillips' Sun Records where he was almost immediately turned down because of his gospel styled music. By that following spring, John came into the studio with his new band, the Tennessee Three. The original group was made up from guitarist Luther Perkins, and bass player Marshall Grant. After this audition, the Tennessee Three released "Hey Porter" for this label company. Even though this single was pretty popular, the song never made the charts.

The Tennessee Three had another release from Sun Records "Cry, Cry, Cry" which had a better outcome peaking the charts at number 14. A long series of singles made the charts. "So Doggone Lonesome" and "Folsom Prison Blues" are the names of some of the next songs recorded, which both made it into the trade publication's Top 10. John's fourth chart single "I Walk the Line" made some major changes in his early career rapidly peaking to the Billboards number one spot and remained on the record charts for an amazing 43 weeks, eventually selling over two million copies.

In 1956, he realized a longtime dream was coming true when he was invited to perform on the Grand Ole Opry. By 1957 John had racked up an impressive string of hits and was touring more than 200 dates a year. The following year the band switched to Columbia Records in search of more freedom. He still had still wanted to make gospel records, and felt like he had a better chance of accomplishing this goal with a different label company.

Throughout the remainder of the 1950s and into the 1960s, John continued to produce remarkable records and charted consistently. "Don't Take Your Guns to Town," "I Got Stripes," "Ring of Fire," "Understand Your Man" and "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" all hit the upper registers of the



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