Johnny Cash

Topics: Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Carter Family Pages: 3 (1095 words) Published: December 22, 2011
Johnny Cash came from humble beginnings and overcome personal destruction to become an influential and successful artist. Johnny Cash was born on February 26, 1932 in Kingsland, Arkansas; he was one of seven children born to Ray and Carrie Cash. His family moved to Dyess, Arkansas when he was three, so that his father could farm. They bought a five bedroom house and farmed twenty acres of cotton and other crops. The son of Southern Baptist sharecroppers, Cash began playing guitar and writing songs at age 12. During high school, he performed frequently on radio station KLCN in Blytheville, Arkansas. Cash moved to Detroit in his late teens and worked there until he joined the Air Force as a radio operator in Germany. He left the Air Force and married Vivian Liberto in 1954; the couple settled in Memphis, where Cash worked as an appliance salesman and attended radio announcers school.

With the Tennessee Two -- guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant -- he began recording for Sam Phillips. Sun Records in 1955. The trio recorded "Cry, Cry, Cry"(), and followed it with "Folsom Prison Blues" . Later in 1956 came Cash's most enduring hit, the million-seller "I Walk the Line" (#17,1956).

Cash moved near Ventura, California, in 1958, signed with Columbia, and began a nine-year period of alcohol and drug abuse. He released a number of successful country and pop hits, among them "Ring of Fire" (#1 pop, #1 C&W, 1963), written by June Carter of the Carter Family and Merle Kilgare. By then, he had left his family and moved to New York's Greenwich Village. Late in 1965, Cash was arrested by Customs officials for trying to smuggle amphetamines in his guitar case across the Mexican border. He got a suspended sentence and was fined. After a serious auto accident and a near fatal overdose, his wife divorced him. By then Cash had moved to Nashville, where he became friends with Waylon Jennings. Together they spent what both have described as a drug-crazed year...
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