JOHNNY CASH Walking a Line in his Shoes

Semester Powerpoint
By: Nicole Casaday
Walking a Line in His Shoes
February 26, 1932 in Kingsland,
Arkansas; the one and only
Johnny Cash was brought into
a loving family of nine created
by Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash.
Johnny and his family lived In
Kingsland until he was at the
age of three, where they then
moved to Dyess, Arkansas; a
Colony in Northeast Arkansas.
The Cash family farmed nearly
20 acres filled of cotton, there
Ray, Kerry and all seven of their
children worked side by side in
the crops; including little
Johnny as a Kid…
Cash spent his childhood in Dyess Colony
until he graduated high school in 1950,
where he then fled off to D e t r o i t in
search of work only to find himself in
Pontiac, Michigan working in the automotive
However, Cash soon after enlisted in the
U.S. Air Force and was sent off to basic
training in Te x a s . While in Texas Cash
accidentally stumbled upon love and met
his first wife Vivian Liberto, than was
almost immediately shipped off to
Landsberg, Germany.
Guns & Girls
Cash started his first band in
the military named The
Landsberg Barbarians. Cash
struggled while desperately
trying to break into the music
business. When Cash
auditioned as solo artist for
Sam Phillips’ Sun Records,
that following Spring he was
in the Sun Studios to record
with his new band; The
Tennessee Three. Originally
consisting of Luther Perkins,
Marshall Grant and Red
Kernodle. A most popular
song of Johnny’s was
produced at this time by the
name of “Hey Porter,”
however, it had a futile
“Cash’s time in the military may have been a short
four years, but those years were crucial in the
makings of who Cash became.”
Vivian Liberto Becomes…
Vivian Cash
Vivian Liberto became
Vivian Cash in 1954
upon his arrival home.
They soon after settled
into a little placed they
called home in
Johnny Get’s Hitched…
Cash’s next release for Sun Records had a significant increase with
“Cry,Cry,Cry”cracking the Billboard’s Top 20 and peaking at No. 14.
Than along came what we all know Cash by today; “I walk the Line”
topping at the No.1 position for 43 weeks! This album sold of two
million copies with other big hits including “So Doggone Lonesome”
and my favorite “Folsom Prison Blues.” Johnny’s dream lived on as
the fans grew along with his fame and fortune. In 1956 he was invited
to perform on the Grand Ole Opry. By 1957 Cash had a handful of
remarkable hits and the following years made the decision to switch
to Columbia Records in search of more artistic freedom; still longing
for gospel records.
Mr. Cash Get’s Famous…
As his tours grew to an
outstanding 300 shows
a year his marriage
grew cold and divorce
seemed inevitable.
Cash began relying on
narcotics to overlook
his problems and to
keep up with his hectic
pace. By the mid-1960’s
Cash had grown
uncontrollably addicted
and his music career
was in serious jeopardy
and had begun to fail.
“Unfortunately, as his fame and fortune grew, so did his ego
and pride. Cash’s life was spinning out of control into a down
tunnel and began collapsing before his eyes.”
“I want a Love like Johnny & June”
During Cash’s crash on life his long time friend and
performing partner June Carter stuck by his side and
eventually with the help of her family they managed to
help him overcome his addiction.
Cash desperately fell for June and in 1968 they were
married and his career was back on track. He
performed numerous live recordings at Folsom Prison
and San Quentin and later was awarded with Country
Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year and male
Vocalist awards in 1969.
1969 continued to become the highlight of
Cash’s life as he received a network
television spot for “T h e J o h n n y
C a s h S h o w ” which aired on ABC.
The show featured live guests ranging from
Bob Dylan to Louis Armstrong. Cash used
the show to break down musical barriers
and create genres. He also used the show
as a forum to discuss and raise the
country’s collective consciousness about
social issues of the day.
By the age of 48, Johnny Cash became the youngest living inductee into the Country
Music Hall of Fame. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame also bestowed their honor on
him in 1995.Cash was became the first ever known to be not only recognized by
idolized in both genres of music. Even after all of Cash’s accomplishments he was far
from stopping. In 1985, Cash joined with friends Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and
Kris Kristofferson to form “The Highwaymen.” The ‘super-group’ released three
albums between 1985 and 1995 scoring a No. 1 hit with the single “Highwayman”
from their first album. In the 1990’s Cash began a struggle with health issues, but
entered a professional renaissance after signing with rap producer Rick Rubin’s
American record label. In 1994 he won a Grammy for best contemporary folk album
and in 1997 for the best country album. In 2001 he once again was awarded another
Grammy for best male country vocal performance, followed by three CMA awards in
“By the age of 48, Johnny Cash became the youngest living
inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
Cash may be gone, but he continues to live
on through his remarkable and
irreplaceable music.
Unfortunately, some good must
always come to an end and
Johnny experienced a significant
loss when his wife June Carter
unexpectedly passed away in
May of 2003. Johnny too passed
away at the age of 71, on
September 12, 2003 at the Baptist
hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.
Cash lived on as a movie was
recreated to reflect on his early
romance with Carter, titled Walk
the Line and was nominated for
Best Picture. Johnny & June had
seven children between them;
Carlene Carter, Rosanne Cash,
Rosey Carter, Kathleen Cash,
Cindy Cash, Tara Cash and John
Carter Cash.
On the morning of January 13, Cash, June Carter
Cash, his usual backing band The Tennessee
Three; all gathered up and traveled to Folsom.
Cash walked up on stage and delivered his
iconic, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash” and the place
went wild. Cash later claimed “the
Folsom Prison Blues is one of the most
recognizable song lyrics in popular music.
In 1957 Cash played live for the first time
for some inmates at Huntsville State
Prison. The event went over so well that
Cash continued this practice, playing
concerts at prisons around the U.S.
inmates at Folsom
Prison were the
most enthusiastic
audience I have
ever played to.”
The song began scaling both pop and county
charts as soon as it hit the radio. At Folsom
Prison remains a legendary album, with millions
of copies sold and tons of praise heaped upon it.
Folsom Prison Blues
Song History
Reason behind the Rhyme
June Carter wrote the song ‘Ring of Fire’ with the help of her friend Merele Kilgore to describe
her relationship with Johnny Cash. She felt being around
Cash was like being in a “ring of fire.” As
previously stated Cash was involved in drugs and had a very volatile lifestyle and June saw him
through to the end. June wrote this song before her and Cash were married, and continued her
fire like life style with Cash for the next 35 years. Cash’s version became one of his
biggest hits, and his marriage to June four years later helped save his life.
According to the Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Songs, June Carter wrote this song while
worried about Cash’s
wildman ways – and aware that she
couldn’t resist him. “There is no way to be in that kind
driving around aimlessly one night,
of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns,” she wrote.
“The Ring of Fire” stands today as one of Johnny’s most widely known hits with its catchy tune
and deep bass. This song like many others of Cash’s resembles a very important part of his life,
and it makes it even better that his beloved wife of 35 years wrote for him, about him.
Ring of Fire
“Hurt” was first written and recorded in 1994 by the “Nine Inch Nails”
Trent Reznor, and in 2002 Cash put his own country twist on it and made the song
his own in his album - “American IV: The Man Comes Around.” The accompanying
music video, directed by Mark Romanek is nominated for seven MTV Vido Awards
and wins for Best Cinematography. Cash claimed, “It is the best anti-drug
song I had ever heard.” The song touched Cash as he could relate to each
individual word sang. The song talks about hurting yourself, and that each person
has the choice to make the pain stop, it’s whether or not you make the right decision.
April 2, 1956 Cash
recorded his single “I
Walk the Line” .
May 1, 1956 the song
was released by Sun Records
and produced by Sam
“I Walk the Line” got
its number one Billboard hit
for the group, and remained
there for over 43 weeks, and
sold over 2 million copies.
wrote the song
backstage one night
in 1956 in
Gladewater, Texas. I
was newly married
at the time, and I
suppose I was laying
out my pledge of
I Walk the Line.
Listening Guide
Ring of Fire - 2:24
Johnny always begins with an introduction and
then a slow, steady beat starts. Trumpets blurt out a Spanish
tune for three pitches, three consecutive times. Johnny’s
deep, rasp voice begins to sing. With the high pitch back up
singers in the background.
Johnny begins singing on tune with slow,
dramatic beats that carried over from the beginning segment.
The beats are made by a bass guitar using only one pick
(string). This beat carries on throughout the entire song.
Three trumpets chime in again right before and
during the chorus. As the guitar in the background keeps a
steady quick upbeat tune.
The trumpets continue ever 10 consecutive
seconds with a very loud and sharp pitch.
Johnny’s words fade, the last trumpet has its play
and the beat comes to a complete stop after a quick duple
Folsom Prison Blues - 2:25
0:00 Rest
0:30 Johnny begins with an introduction and
immediately a quick, short guitar strum is played with
small pauses between each note. In the live version the
crowd goes wild with joy. A steady clap begins from the
crowd every 2nd count on the beat of the guitar.
1:00 Johnny begins singing at a steady tune. The
peppy and upbeat guitar carries on continuously
throughout the song with two counts.
1:30 Right before each chorus the beat speeds to a
quick rhythm then carries out with the same rhythm as
the beginning. Johnny gives out hoots and hollers out to
the crowd.
2:00 The strings repeat the introduction in quick a
short notes with the solo guitar.
2:30 The song ends with the quick chorus rhythm
in the background as Johnny’s voice fades. The crowd
goes wild again as Johnny thanks them for coming out.
Walk the Line
A bass guitar begins with a steady quick
two note strum. Johnny begins with an
introduction then a slow beat on the guitar begins
with 3-4 chords. It then fades into 2 chords and
the singing begins. Along side the guitar is a
steady rattle shake creating an irresistible beat.
This lengthy scale from the string guitar
remains as two sets of a duple meter begins. After
each verse Johnny’s gives a few second quivering
hum, before he begins his next verse.
The bass guitar joins with the harmony
to the once solo guitar and the volume is at is peak
and the bass takes over the melody with major
percussion becoming louder and more prominent.
The guitar carries the same background
tune throughout the entire song until two beats of
light and fast strings correlate in-between.
Johnny’s voice begins to fade the bass
guitar drags on.
Johnny begins with an introduction then a very
slow and calming guitar joins in with 3-5 chords repeating
four times until Johnny begins singing at the 15 second
interval keeping the same slow pace. His voice older and
raspy and slower then most songs.
The guitar speeds of the beats per section
before, after and during each chorus.
The music becomes loud, aggressive, and fast.
Each of the strums making a dramatic impulse on the
song for 30 consecutive seconds. Johnny’s voice is serious
filled with emotion and energy.
Two light strings join in and repeat seven times,
before returning to the beginning harmony of 3-5 chords
repeating four times.
Quick set of 3 chords from the solo guitar, as
the 3rd verse is sung slow and contently, with deep passion
in each word describing his pain and agony.
Chorus speeds up to an aggressive harmony.
Johnny’s voice escalates to pitch higher then the
instruments in the background. His voice is clear, the
words are each pronounced slowly with passion.
The melody is very repetitive with a two chord
string from the guitar.
Johnny’s voice slows, the instruments stop
then Johnny sings his few last words.
Works Cited
Holly Bones Music. (n.d.). Retrieved September 15, 2011, from
Johnny Cash. (n.d.). Retrieved September 2011, from
Song Pond - Ring of Fire History (n.d.). Retrieved October 2011, from
The Boot - Folsom Prison Blues (n.d.). Retrieved October 2011, from
The History of Rock. (n.d.). Retrieved September 2011, from
The Johnny Cash Project. (n.d.). Retrieved September 2011, from
IMDB - Johnny Cash (n.d.). Retrieved October 2011, from
MTV's Johnny Cash (n.d.). Retrieved October 2011, from
Song Facts - I Walk the Line (n.d.). Retrieved October 2011, from