In its infancy, rock and roll quickly crowned its king. At the same time, another member of R&R royalty was making his name: The Man in Black.
Johnny Cash first gained fame on the Sun Records label. You might remember it best for producing a kid named Presley. In fact, along with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins, Johnny made up what the Sun marketing people called “The Million Dollar Quartet.”
His first single to make the Billboard chart, Cry, Cry, Cry, reached number 14. But it was 1956, a year in which he released two epic songs, that Johnny Cash became a household name. Seldom does an artist have back-t0-back hits with the power of Folsom Prison Blues and I Walk the Line. The latter became his first number one song.
Of course, if you know Johnny’s story, you know that his life spiraled out of control during the sixties due to drug use. God chose to bring him around as He often does – with a woman. June Carter not only sang some impressive duets with Johnny, but she and her family shared their strong faith with him, and patiently saw him through to a personal redemption.
Johnny Cash was the youngest person elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1980. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame conferred its membership in 1992. And in 1999 the Grammys honored him with a lifetime achievement award. He was honest, sometimes raw, and always electric. Which was obvious every time he stood on stage and said:
“Hi…I’m Johnny Cash.”
Okay, I’ve never been a Johnny Cash fan, but he was definitely uniquely American.