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12 Best Johnny Cash Songs Honoring Him on the 10th Anniversary of His Death

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Today is the 10th anniversary of the death of Johnny Cash (died: Sept. 12, 2003). What better way to remember the ‘man in black’ then look back at his best songs.

The country music legend, who died of respiratory failure caused by complications from diabetes, wrote dozens of hits throughout his long career, including “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ring of Fire,” “I Walk the Line” and “A Boy Named Sue.”

Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas, and was the fourth child of seven children to Ray and Carrie Cash.

His parents named him J. R. Cash because they couldn’t think of a name. When Cash joined the Air Force, he wasn’t allowed to use initials as his name, so he began using the legal name John R. Cash. In 1955, he signed with Sun Records and took Johnny Cash as his stage name.

In the early 1970s, his public image became known as “The Man in Black.” While performing he dressed in all black clothing including a long black knee-length coat. He wore black on behalf of the poor and hungry, the prisoner paying for his crime, the veterans of war, and on behalf of those who have been betrayed by age or drugs. In 1971, Cash wrote the song “Man in Black,” to help explain his dress code.

We hope you enjoy this collection of 12 of the best Johnny Cash songs.

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12 Best Johnny Cash Songs 1 – 6


I Walk the Line

Johnny Cash



Written and recorded by Johnny Cash in 1956, “I Walk the Line” became his first number one hit on the Billboard chart. The song sold over 2 million copies and stayed on the record charts for over 43 weeks.



Ring of Fire

Johnny Cash



“Ring of Fire” was co-written by Johnny’s wife June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore. It’s on Cash’s 1963 album, Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash. It was recorded on March 25, 1963, and became the biggest hit of Johnny Cash’s career, staying at number one on the charts for seven weeks. The song was originally recorded by June’s sister, Anita Carter, on her album Folk Songs Old and New in 1963.




Johnny Cash and June Carter



“Jackson” was written in 1963 by Billy Edd Wheeler and Jerry Leiber and was a hit in 1967 by Johnny Cash and June Carter. The song is about a married couple who who discover the fire is gone from their relationship. They  both go to Jackson, Mississippi with each expecting to be welcomed as someone far better suited to the city’s lively night life than the other is.



A Boy Named Sue

Johnny Cash



Written as a poem by Shel Silverstein, “A Boy Named Sue” was made popular by Johnny Cash at the height of his popularity.  He recorded the song live at San Quentin State Prison in during his concert on February 24, 1969. The song spent three weeks at number 2 on the Billboard chart.



Ghost Riders in the Sky

Johnny Cash



The song was written on June 5, 1948 by Stan Jones. More than 50 performers have recorded versions of the song including Johnny Cash, Bing Crosby, Frankie Laine, Burl Ives, and Marty Robbins. Gene Autry sang it in the movie, Riders in the Sky in 1949.



Get Rhythm

Johnny Cash



Written and recorded by Johnny Cash “Get Rhythm” was released in 1956 as the B-side to Cash’s first Number One hit, “I Walk the Line. In 1969, the original recording of “Get Rhythm” was released as a single itself, with sound effects dubbed in to simulate the sound of a live recording.


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