"}},{"@type":"Question","name":"Were Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash friends?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Admirers of each other's work, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan cemented their friendship at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. In 1969, Cash launched his network variety show from Nashville, collaborating with Dylan for its premiere."}}]}}

We’re One Month Away from a Brand New Johnny Cash Album (2024)


Latest News: Posthumous Johnny Cash Album Songwriter Releasing June 2024

More than 30 years after he recorded them inside a Nashville studio, 11 of Johnny Cash’s unreleased songs are set to debut on a new posthumous album. According to Rolling Stone, Songwriter, scheduled to arrive on June 28, features tracks Cash put to tape during a 1993 demo session.

The forthcoming album isn’t a carbon copy of the recordings. The late singer’s son, John Carter Cash, reworked the demos, stripping them down to only Cash’s vocals and acoustic guitar, then worked with producers and other musicians to add instrumentation. Two featured collaborators are Vince Gill, who provides vocals for “Poor Valley Girl,” and the late Waylon Jennings, who sang with Cash on “I Love You Tonite” and “Like a Soldier.” A single from the album, “Well Alright,” has already been released.

Songwriter won’t be the first posthumous album for Cash, who died at age 71 in September 2003. His son previously discovered another unreleased project titled Out Among the Stars, which debuted in 2014.

Listen to “Well Alright” on Amazon Music, Apple Music, or Spotify

Jump to:

  • Who Was Johnny Cash?
  • Quick Facts
  • Where Is Johnny Cash From?
  • Military Service
  • Musical Breakthrough and Songs
  • Substance Abuse and Career Revival
  • Wives and Children
  • Later Career and Declining Health
  • Death and Legacy
  • Quotes

Who Was Johnny Cash?

Country musician Johnny Cash was known for hits like “Ring of Fire” and “Man in Black,” which became his nickname. He left a poor farming community to join the Air Force after high school but always harbored musical ambitions. Within a few years of his discharge, his band Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two had scored hits with songs like “I Walk the Line.” Cash’s career was nearly derailed in the 1960s by a serious substance-abuse problem, but his marriage to June Carter and his acclaimed 1968 album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison put him back on track. In later years, the 13-time Grammy winner joined the country supergroup the Highwaymen and released a series of albums with producer Rick Rubin. After years of serious health problems, Cash died in September 2003 at age 71.

Quick Facts

REAL NAME: John R. Cash
BORN: February 26, 1932
DIED: September 12, 2003
BIRTHPLACE: Kingsland, Arkansas
SPOUSES: Vivian Liberto (1954-1966) and June Carter Cash (1968-2003)
CHILDREN: Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, Tara, Carlene, Rosie, and John

Where Is Johnny Cash From?

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Johnny Cash was born J.R. Cash on February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas. The son of poor Southern Baptist sharecroppers, Cash was one of seven children born to Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash. His parents couldn’t agree on whether to name their son Rivers or Ray, so they decided simply on J.R. Years later, the future musician adopted the name John R. Cash while in the military.

When young Johnny was 3 years old, the Cash family moved to Dyess, Arkansas, so his father could take advantage of the New Deal farming programs instituted by President Franklin Roosevelt. There, they lived in a five-room house and farmed 20 acres of cotton and other seasonal crops.

Johnny spent much of the next 15 years out in the fields, working alongside his parents and siblings to help pay off their debts. It wasn’t an easy life, and music was one of the ways the family found escape from some of the hardships. Songs surrounded the youngster, be it his mother’s folk and hymn ballads or the working music people sang out in the fields.

From an early age, Johnny showed a love for the music that enveloped his life. He began writing songs at age 12. Sensing her son’s gift for song, Carrie scraped together enough money so he could take singing lessons. After just three lessons, however, his teacher was so enthralled with Johnny’s already unique singing style that they told him to stop taking lessons and to never deviate from his natural voice.

Religion, too, had a strong impact on Cash’s childhood. His mother was a devout member of the Pentecostal Church of God, and his older brother Jack seemed committed to joining the priesthood until his tragic death in 1944 in an electric-saw accident. The experiences of his early farming life and religion became recurring themes in Cash’s career.

Military Service

In 1950, Cash graduated high school and left Dyess to seek employment, venturing to Pontiac, Michigan, for a brief stint at an auto body plant. That summer, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as “John R. Cash”—military regulations required a full first name—and he was sent for training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. For the bulk of his four years in the Air Force, Cash was stationed in Landsberg, West Germany, where he worked as a radio intercept officer, eavesdropping on Soviet radio traffic.

It was also in Germany that Cash began to turn more of his attention toward music. With a few of his Air Force buddies, he formed the Landsberg Barbarians, giving Cash a chance to play live shows, teach himself more of the guitar, and take a shot at songwriting. “We were terrible,” he said later, “but that Lowenbrau beer will make you feel like you’re great. We’d take our instruments to these honky-tonks and play until they threw us out or a fight started.”

Cash was discharged in July 1954.

Musical Breakthrough and Songs

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Before forming Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two, bassist Marshall Grant, guitarist Luther Perkins, and Cash played together casually at one another’s homes.

After his Air Force duty, Cash worked as an appliance salesman in Memphis, Tennessee. Pursuing music on the side, Cash teamed up with a couple of mechanics, Marshall Grant and Luther Perkins, who worked with his older brother Roy. The young musicians soon formed a tight bond, with the crew and their wives often heading over to one of their houses to play music, much of it gospel.

Cash, who banged away on an old $5 guitar he’d purchased in Germany, became the frontman for the group, and they honed their unique synthesis of blues and country-Western music through live performances. “He was a decent singer, not a great one,” wrote Marshall Grant in his 2006 autobiography, I Was There When it Happened: My Life with Johnny Cash. “But there was power and presence in his voice.”

Later in 1954, Cash, Grant, and Perkins made an unannounced visit to Sun Records, where another Memphis musician, Elvis Presley, had cut his first single that July. The trio sought out the local producer who had issued the song, Sam Phillips, and asked him for an audition. The Sun Records owner gave in, and Cash and the boys soon returned to show off their skills. Phillips liked their sound but not their gospel-driven song choices, which he felt would have a limited market, and asked them to return with an original song.

The men did just that, beginning work on the Cash-written song “Hey Porter,” shortly that first Sun session. Phillips liked that tune, as well as the group’s follow-up effort, “Cry, Cry, Cry,” and signed the newly branded Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two. “Hey Porter” was released in May 1955 and later that year “Cry, Cry, Cry” peaked at No. 14 on the Billboard charts.

Other hit songs followed, including the Top 10 tracks “So Doggone Lonesome” and “Folsom Prison Blues.” But true fame arrived in 1956 when Cash wrote and released “I Walk The Line,” which catapulted to No. 1 on the country music chart and sold 2 million copies. He released his debut album, Johnny Cash with His Hot & Blue Guitar in 1957, and cemented his fame with chart-toppers like “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town.” Their sound innovatively combined country, rock, blues, and gospel influences.

By the early 1960s, the busy schedule and the pressures that Cash faced began taking a toll on his first wife, Vivian, and their family. They had relocated to California, though Cash was on the road for 300 nights a year with his group, now known as the Tennessee Three and signed to Columbia Records. The lead singer was often accompanied by June Carter, who co-wrote what became one of the Man in Black’s signature songs, “Ring of Fire” (1963). Cash also sought to establish himself as an actor, starring in the movie Five Minutes to Live (1961) and a few Western-themed TV shows.

Substance Abuse and Career Revival

Cash began to abuse drugs and alcohol while touring with the Tennessee Three. His struggle eventually devolved to dire circ*mstances. In 1967, he was discovered in a near-death state by a policeman in a small village in Georgia.

There were other incidents, too, including an arrest for smuggling amphetamines into the United States across the Mexican border, and for starting a forest fire in a California park. “I took all the drugs there are to take, and I drank,” Cash recalled. “Everybody said that Johnny Cash was through ’cause I was walkin’ around town 150 pounds. I looked like walking death.”

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June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash, seen here on a 1969 episode of The Johnny Cash Show, became lifelong musical collaborators in the 1960s.

His bandmate and second wife, June Carter, helped Cash refocus on his Christian faith and get the drug addiction treatment he needed, setting up a remarkable turnaround.

In 1969, Cash began hosting The Johnny Cash Show, a TV variety series that showcased contemporary musicians ranging from Bob Dylan to Louis Armstrong. It also provided a forum for Cash to explore a number of social issues, tackling discussions that ranged from the war in Vietnam to prison reform to the rights of Native Americans.

The same year his show debuted, Cash also took home two Grammy Awards for his live album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison. A critical and commercial success, the 1968 album was credited with helping to revive the artist’s popularity.

The ensuing decade offered up more success for the artist, as Cash’s music career flourished with the release of hit singles like “A Thing Called Love” in 1972 and “One Piece at a Time” in 1976. He also co-starred with Kirk Douglas in A Gunfight (1970), wrote music for the movie Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970), and published the best-selling autobiography Man in Black in 1975.

Wives and Children

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Johnny and June Carter Cash were married for 35 years.

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Johnny Cash and Vivian Liberto had four children before divorcing in 1966.

While many people might know Cash’s wife June Carter Cash, the Man in Black was actually married once before to Vivian Liberto.

Cash and Liberto met while he was stationed at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base for basic training. The years and distance of his Air Force service didn’t hamper their feelings for one another. The couple married in 1954 and quickly began their family. Together, Cash and his first wife had four daughters: Rosanne Cash, born in May 1955; Kathy, born in April 1956; Cindy, born in July 1959; and Tara, born in August 1961.

But Cash’s first marriage was tested by his substance abuse and life on the road. As he toured, Vivian was left home to care for their young family. She grew increasingly frustrated with her husband’s absence. In 1966, she finally filed for divorce.

Two years later, Cash married June Carter on March 1, 1968. More than just a musical collaborator, June provided a lifeline for the singer in the depths of his addiction. Her support helped him turn his life and career around.

In March 1970, the couple welcomed their son, John Carter Cash. Additionally, Johnny became a stepfather to June’s daughters, Carlene and Rosie, from her previous marriages.

Later Career and Declining Health

In 1980, at age 48, Cash became the youngest living person to be inducted to the Country Music Hall of Fame. As in the previous decade, he maintained a busy schedule in the ’80s and increasingly teamed up with other musicians. In 1986, he banded with old Sun Records colleagues Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Roy Orbison to record the widely popular compilation The Class Of ’55. Meanwhile, he joined forces with fellow country stalwarts Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings to form the Highwaymen, which released three studio albums between 1985 and 1995. In the early 1990s, Cash stepped into the studio with U2 to record “The Wanderer,” a track that appeared on the band’s 1993 album, Zooropa.

Throughout this time, though, Cash’s health problems and his continued battles with addiction were nearby. After undergoing abdominal surgery in 1983, he checked himself into the Betty Ford Clinic. In 1988, Cash again went under the knife, this time for double-bypass heart surgery.

But, like always, Cash pushed on. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and in 1994, he teamed with music producer Rick Rubin to release American Recordings. The 13-track acoustic album that mixed traditional ballads with modern compositions earned Cash a new audience and a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. He followed with another Rubin-produced album, Unchained (1996), and published his second memoir, Cash: The Autobiography, in 1997.

Cash’s physical health became more of an issue in the late 1990s. He was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease Shy-Drager syndrome, a misdiagnosis that was later corrected to autonomic neuropathy. According to Rolling Stone, he was hospitalized multiple times with pneumonia, including one bout that put him in a coma for eight days in October 2001.

Still, the artist continued making music. In 2002, he released American IV: The Man Comes Around, a mix of originals and covers, including songs from the Beatles and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. The album, recorded at the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee, was the fourth Cash-Rubin compilation.

Cash’s last major hit song was a cover of Reznor’s 1995 single “Hurt” that the country singer recorded for American IV. The song won Single of the Year at the 2003 CMA Awards, and the accompanying music video won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 2004.

Although Reznor initially felt the cover was “invasive,” he was honored that Cash had wanted to cover his music and eventually fell in love with the music video. “It felt like a warm hug,” he told Digital Spy in 2008. “I have goose bumps right now thinking about it.”

Cash’s health continued to decline. He was devastated when his longtime love, June Carter Cash, died in May 2003, but he continued to work. With Rubin at his side, the singer recorded what would become American V: A Hundred Highways. “Once June passed, he had the will to live long enough to record, but that was pretty much all,” Rubin later recalled. “A day after June passed, he said, ‘I need to have something to do every day. Otherwise, there’s no reason for me to be here.’”

Death and Legacy

Cash wrapped up his final track just a week before he died on September 12, 2003, from complications associated with diabetes. He was 71 years old. That November, Cash was posthumously honored at the CMA Awards. American IV won Album of the Year as “Hurt” captured Single and Music Video of the Year.

Posthumous Albums

In 2006, fans were treated to new music from the late artist. May brought Personal File, a two-CD set of unreleased material recorded decades earlier. In July, American V: A Hundred Highways was unveiled. Starkly arranged and sometimes mournful, the songs highlighted Cash’s older and rougher sounding voice, which seared with a raw honesty.

Four years later, additional material from recording sessions with Rubin were released as American VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010). In December 2013, it was revealed that another album from Cash had been unearthed. Out Among the Stars, which had been recorded in the early 1980s but never released by Columbia Records, was discovered by John Carter Cash in his father’s archives. Underscoring the singer’s sustained popularity, the album became a chart-topper following its release in March 2014.

Walk the Line Movie and More Commemorations

In 2005, the story of his life and career through the late 1960s was made into a movie, Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny and Reese Witherspoon as June.

Not surprisingly, Cash’s influence continued to resonate. In 2007, the community of Starkville, Mississippi, paid honor to the performer and his arrest there in 1965 for public intoxication with the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin’ Festival. The following year, the late artist won another Grammy, for Best Short Form Music Video for “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.”

“I think he’ll be remembered for the way he grew as a person and an artist,” Kris Kristofferson wrote in 2010, upon Cash’s selection by Rolling Stone magazine as the 31st greatest artist of all time. “He went from being this guy who was as wild as Hank Williams to being almost as respected as one of the fathers of our country. He was friends with presidents and with Billy Graham. You felt like he should’ve had his face on Mount Rushmore.”

Johnny Cash Museum

In May 2013, the Johnny Cash Museum held its grand opening in Nashville, Tennessee. The museum boasts having the “largest and most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world.” Among the items on display are Cash’s old Martin guitar, family photos and artifacts, tin cups from Folsom Prison, and a series of gold and platinum albums.

Founders Shannon and Bill Miller said the idea for creating a museum dedicated the Man in Black occurred after the singer’s Nashville estate burned down in August 2007. “We’re just really happy to be able to tell the fans there’s a place to come celebrate Johnny Cash,” Shannon told USA Today.


  • I’d like to wear a rainbow every day / and tell the world that everything is OK / But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back. / Until things are brighter, I’m the Man in Black.
  • I was evil. I really was.
  • I think [country music] speaks to our basic fundamental feelings… of emotions, of love, of breakup, of love and hate and death and dying, mama, apple pie, and the whole thing. It covers a lot of territory.
  • I wouldn’t let anybody influence me into thinking I was doing the wrong thing by singing about death, hell and drugs. ’Cause I’ve always done that. And I always will.
  • I forgave myself. When God forgave me, I figured I’d better do it, too.
  • I wanted to get just about that high off the ground before I’d go onstage. Sometimes, I’d misjudge how high I was, you know, and I’d get onstage and I was a wreck.
  • I appreciate all that—all the praise and the glory. It doesn’t change the way I feel about anything, though. I just do what I do.
  • There’s no way around grief and loss... sooner or later you just have to go into it... The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left.
  • You can’t fool the audience. You can’t fool yourself. If you’re not yourself onstage, it shows.
  • Every pill I ever took was an attempt to regain the wonderful, natural feeling of euphoria I experienced the first time... It was never as great as the first time, no matter how hard I tried to make it so.
  • Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble.
  • You’ve got to know your limitations... I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way.
  • [I’ve] never done a concert in anything but black. You walk into my clothes closet. It’s dark in there.
Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!

We’re One Month Away from a Brand New Johnny Cash Album (6)

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We’re One Month Away from a Brand New Johnny Cash Album (7)

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News and Culture Editor, Biography.com

Tyler Piccotti first joined the Biography.com staff as an Associate News Editor in February 2023, and before that worked almost eight years as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. He is a graduate of Syracuse University. When he's not writing and researching his next story, you can find him at the nearest amusem*nt park, catching the latest movie, or cheering on his favorite sports teams.

We’re One Month Away from a Brand New Johnny Cash Album (2024)


What album did Johnny Cash hurt? ›

Johnny Cash version. In 2002, Johnny Cash covered the song for his final album during his lifetime, American IV: The Man Comes Around.

What Johnny Cash albums should I listen to? ›

  • 10 - American IV: The Man Comes Around. by Johnny Cash. ...
  • 9 - With His Hot and Blue Guitar! by Johnny Cash. ...
  • 8 - American III: Solitary Man. by Johnny Cash. ...
  • 7 - At San Quentin. by Johnny Cash. ...
  • 6 - American Recordings. by Johnny Cash. ...
  • 5 - The Fabulous Johnny Cash. ...
  • 4 - American II: Unchained. ...
  • 3 - American V: A Hundred Highways.

How many Johnny Cash albums are there? ›

How many albums did Johnny Cash make? Johnny Cash is a legend in American Music and was a prolific songwriter and artist. Over the course of his career, he released 97 albums.

Who recorded an album of duets with Johnny Cash? ›

Discover Johnny Cash's best loved collaborations. Featuring duets with artists like Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow, June Carter Cash & many more.

What is Johnny Cash's saddest song? ›

The aforementioned “Ballad of Ira Hayes” is about as sad as any song you'll hear, but I'm guessing you're looking for a romantically sad song. Give me “I Still Miss Someone” for the best Johnny Cash sad song. I see them everywhere.” Classic, straightforward, “we broke up and I can't get over you” material.

Was Johnny Cash's first wife black? ›

White supremacists stated that she was black and thus married illegally to her husband. She and her husband were subject to harassment and he was boycotted for a year in the South before his manager documented her background as white.

What is Johnny Cash's most listened to song? ›

Song TitleStreamsDaily
Ring of Fire - Single Version367,825,170161,979
* Highwayman253,921,992121,078
Folsom Prison Blues - Live at Folsom State Prison, Folsom, CA - January 1968233,809,70998,911
154 more rows
Jun 22, 2024

Who got Johnny Cash's fortune? ›

After a long and prolific music career, Cash left plenty of cash for his son but little for his daughters according to his will. He'd amassed a $60 million to $100 million fortune. The Nashville Ledger reported that he finalized his estate details just before his death.

How many #1 songs does Johnny Cash have? ›

Although he is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash never achieved a number 1 hit on the Hot 100 Singles Chart. His biggest pop hit was A Boy Named Sue, which reached number 2 in 1969. However, on the Billboard Hot Country Singles Chart, he managed 14 number 1 hits.

Was Johnny Cash bigger than the Beatles? ›

In 1969, Cash became an international hit when he eclipsed even The Beatles by selling 6.5 million albums.

Was Johnny Cash in the military? ›

Johnny Cash was an American country singer-songwriter. Cash served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean war and was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile Security Service in Germany. During his time in the military, he served as a Morse Code Intercept Operator.

What was the last album Johnny Cash made? ›

American IV: The Man Comes Around is the sixty-seventh and final non-posthumous studio album by Johnny Cash.

Did Elvis and Johnny Cash ever record together? ›

"Million Dollar Quartet" is a recording of an impromptu jam session involving Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash made on December 4, 1956, at the Sun Record Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

What rock band did Johnny Cash do a song with? ›

Were Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash friends? ›

Admirers of each other's work, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan cemented their friendship at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. In 1969, Cash launched his network variety show from Nashville, collaborating with Dylan for its premiere.

Why did Johnny Cash do the song Hurt? ›

“There were times when his voice sounded broken,” said Rubin. “He tried to turn that into a positive in the selection of the music. It was a real struggle for him.” Instead of being a song about a young individual on the downward spiral to self-destruction, Cash interpreted the lyrics as a man at the end of his life.

What was Johnny Cash's last album before he died? ›

American IV: The Man Comes Around is the sixty-seventh and final non-posthumous studio album by Johnny Cash.

Who originally wrote Hurt? ›

Originally written by Trent Reznor and released by Nine Inch Nails on the 1994 album Downward Spiral, the song was brilliantly reimagined by Johnny Cash and producer Rick Rubin (Def Jam records, etc.) in 2002 and received the Country Music Association award for "Single of the Year" in 2003.

What happened to Johnny Cash's original band? ›

In 1980, Marshall Grant left to become manager of the Statler Brothers. Cash decided to discontinue using the name "The Tennessee Three", ostensibly for legal reasons (Grant had filed a lawsuit against Cash, which was settled out of court years later).


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