6 Interesting Facts About Johnny Cash

by Evan Ceretti, Feb 26, 2018 . 5 min read

6 Interesting Facts About Johnny Cash

One of country music’s most influential singers was born on this day – February 26, 1932. Though Johnny Cash sadly passed away in 2003, his words and music live on, continuing to have a profound effect on listeners. In his music, attitude, and larger-than-life lifestyle, Cash truly did walk the line. Today, after having sold 90 million records, Cash’s legend and fanbase continues to grow all over the world, as he soothes listeners from the grave with his calm, bass-baritone voice. Here are 6 interesting facts you may have not known about the Man In Black.

1. He wrote much more than just songs

Johnny Cash was more than a songwriter. He was a writer in the broadest sense. As a child, Cash wrote poems, and he continued to write stories as a teenager, honing his skills. Cash’s first published piece was called “Hey Porter,” which appeared in a military newspaper. In 1975 he wrote his first autobiography, Man in Black, and in 1997 he wrote his second autobiography, Cash: The Autobiography. Both were penned in longhand in notebooks. Cash was also a novelist. He published Man in White in 1986, which was a fictional account of six years in the life of the apostle Paul. Cash considered the novel to be one of his greatest achievements.

2. Cash was an ordained minister

It was no secret that Cash was deeply religious. The Man in Black was simultaneously a god-fearing Christian as well as a rebellious outlaw of sorts, which is what made him so appealing to such a wide audience. Despite his celebrated presence, he always remained a man of the people. It’s easy to see parallels between Cash and the Apostle Paul in Cash’s novel Man in White, mentioned above. In the 1960s, Cash was more well-known for his rebellious image, more than that of a holy man – he would wreck hotel rooms, drive under the influence of drugs, and have fits on stage, which were largely the result of drug abuse. In 1968, after remarrying June Carter, Cash began a lifelong reexamination of his life, where he got back in line with his Christian beliefs. During the 1970s, after more than two years of study, Cash received a degree in theology and become a minister. He presided at his daughter’s wedding.

3. He didn’t write the hit Ring of Fire

Despite having written many hits during his career, Cash didn’t write Ring of Fire. Cash recorded the song “(Love’s) Ring of Fire” in 1963, which was a single that Anita Carter had previously released. The song was co-written by Cash’s to-be-wife, June Carter, as well as singer-songwriter Merle Kilgore. Anita Carter’s version of the song never rocked the billboards, but Cash heard it and knew there was something special about it. He added his own Mexican-themed twist on the song and released it as “Ring of Fire”, which became an immediate hit, and would later become his all-time best seller.

 

4. Johnny Cash is not his real name

Sam Phillips, the producer of Cash’s first record, thought that “Cash” sounded more like an invented stage name when he first met Cash. Though “Cash” is indeed a great stage name, it’s also Johnny’s real last name. “Johnny” was the made-up part. Johnny grew up being J.R. Cash in Arkansas. It was only when Cash joined the Air Force in 1950 that he assigned himself a name, as the recruiter would not accept a candidate with initials for a name. With the snap of a finger, J.R. became John R. Cash. A legend was born.

5. He was no stranger to a jail cell

Cash was no stranger to the inside of a prison. In fact, he was arrested seven times for a variety of reasons, some from drug-related charges. Despite being arrested seven times, Cash only ever spent one night in jail. The arrests never held him back, and you could say it advanced his career in many ways. Two of his best-selling albums were recorded in prison: Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968 and Johnny Cash at San Quentin in 1969. He continued to visit prisons throughout his career to play for the prisoners. Cash, having been in jail, was sympathetic towards the plight of the imprisoned.

6. His ‘desert island’ playlist would include Beethoven

It’s not an easy question to answer. The world is filled with an endless amount of great music – but, what if you were trapped on an island and only had access to one compilation album, what would you choose? Especially if it were the only thing you could listen to and it would be played endlessly? In his autobiography, Cash, Cash said he would take: Bob Dylan’s The Freeweelin’ Bob Dylan, Merle Travis’ Down Home, Jimmie Davis’s Greatest Gospel Hits, Emmylou Harris’ Roses in the Snow, Rosanne Cash’s The Wheel, a gospel album by Rosetta Tharpe, “something by Beethoven,” and You Are There by Edward R. Murrow. 

Be The First To Know

Something great is coming! We, at Band Industries, are launching our next-generation automatic guitar tuner ROADIE 3 on Kickstarter very soon. Sign up here to get notified of the launch and gain access to an exclusive first buyer’s price. We’ve gotten smarter and are using all that we’ve learned to blow your mind again with the new and improved Roadie 3. This tuner solves all your tuning needs, and you’ll definitely want to know when it’s out!



Get our free Alternate Tunings Guide!
Submit

Check out some other similar articles

Although women by no means are under-represented in the music industry, female instrumentalists are not quite as common as we’d like them to be –

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 8, 2020 . 4 min read

A list of musicians who died before the age of 30 would be too long to write. Even going through all of the members of the infamous “27 Club” would take ages.

Frederik Nielsen
Mar 4, 2020 . 3 min read

While most people are not sure if they have one genuine talent, some people are much luckier. 

Tamara Habchi
Mar 3, 2020 . 4 min read

In most cases, parents are proud when their kids reach a developmental milestone ahead of their peers.

Tamara Habchi
Mar 2, 2020 . 4 min read

There are enough obstacles to making it in the music industry. Succeeding with a disability is nothing short of a miracle. But it’s not impossible.

Frederik Nielsen
Feb 25, 2020 . 4 min read

People who speak more than one language are impressive to all of us. And musicians that play more than one instrument are even more impressive.

Frederik Nielsen
Feb 25, 2020 . 4 min read

Despite what many people will tell you, you can earn more than decent money as a relatively unknown, professional guitarist. There are many ways to make money:

Frederik Nielsen
Feb 24, 2020 . 3 min read

Music magazines weren’t so kind to electric guitars over the past decade. Sales were down and it seemed like the guitar market would never recover.

Frederik Nielsen
Feb 18, 2020 . 4 min read

When you think of the ukulele, you probably think about a tropical, Hawaiian beach with lots of sunlight. But people from all over the world have fallen in love with ukulele.

Frederik Nielsen
Feb 18, 2020 . 5 min read

The second month of the year comes with a lot of celebrations. We have the Presidents’ Day, there’s also Valentine’s Day, plus all of the birthdays of amazing people we look up to.

Frederik Nielsen
Feb 17, 2020 . 3 min read

New year, New reviews? But wait, before we officially welcome 2020, let’s look back at some of our favorite reviews of 2019.

Tamara Habchi
Jan 8, 2020 . 4 min read

In this edition of Roadie Spotlight, we’re checking out the Japanese guitar virtuoso ichika [sic] who has taken the Internet by storm with his amazing skills.

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 31, 2019 . 3 min read

Not all stars are plastered across social media. Some manage to create a buzz without resorting to self-aggrandizing promotion techniques. 

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 24, 2019 . 3 min read

We’re almost at the end of 2019 and thought we’d round off the year with more spotlights on great guitarists that we come across online.

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 20, 2019 . 3 min read

Annie Plays Guitar is a name that has popped up on social media for the past few years. We’ve had a listen to Annie Wagstaff’s music and also looked at her new project HANNIE in this edition of Roadie Spotlight.

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 16, 2019 . 3 min read

We’re once more putting the spotlight of some of our favorite artists here on the Roadie blog. Some of them are famous, others are emerging — but all of them are amazing.

Frederik Nielsen
Dec 5, 2019 . 2 min read

Ever wondered what equipment some of the greatest guitarists of all time used?

Then look no further.

Frederik Nielsen
Oct 30, 2019 . 4 min read

Today’s Roadie Spotlight series will introduce Adam Nitti, a world-renown bassist, music teacher, composer, and recording artist.

Randall Nashleanas
Aug 9, 2019 . 3 min read

Roadie Tuner has received much support from musicians all over the world, as they share their personal preferences and opinions on how they use Roadie products.

Frederik Nielsen
Jul 10, 2019 . 2 min read

While it’s true that the music industry can often seem like a young person’s game, there are more than a handful guitarists who made it later in life.

Frederik Nielsen
Jul 4, 2019 . 3 min read
We'll be bringing you recommended tabs and plenty of interesting quotes from guitar legends along the way!