Johnny Cash officially named J.R Cash at birth, was born into an Arkansas cotton farming family on February 26, 1932. After completing the evening chores, the Cash family would gather on their front porch to sing hymns, folk ballads, gospel tunes, and traditional southern music – music that would strongly influence Johnny’s style throughout his career. Cash joined the military after high school and was stationed in Germany, where he purchased his first guitar. His first band started with buddies from the military, played the various nightclubs, and entertained the other servicemen around the base. After leaving the service, Cash moved to Memphis. He worked in a factory and as a door-to-door salesman as he attempted to break into the music industry. Signing his first record deal in 1954, his early recordings, “Hey Porter,” and “Cry Cry Cry,” introduced listeners to his distinctive baritone voice and brought him considerable attention in the country-western music world. The next year, his release of “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “I Walk the Line,” elevated Johnny Cash to country music stardom. By 1957, Cash was rated as the top country-western recording artist. Over the next several decades, Cash’s hits, “Ring of Fire,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” “A Boy Named Sue,” “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison,” and many others, cemented his legacy as one of the top recording artists in history. During his career, Cash earned 53 Gold or Platinum Records. Known throughout his career as “The Man in Black,” Cash once explained the purpose of his all-black attire, stating that the lyrics to his song, “Man in Black,” contained the answers. Black was worn to remind others of those who are held back and left behind in society, including the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the young lives taken by war.
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