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Johnny Cash, the Man in Black, was a singer, guitarist, and songwriter whose music innovatively mixed country, rock, blues, and gospel influences.
Johnny Cash - Hurt (3:32)
Watch a short video about Johnny Cash and find out the highlights and low lights of the career of this rock, gospel and country legend.
As Johnny Cash entered the final days of his life, he covered "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails, and it became one of his most successful and heartbreaking recordings of all time.
After years of presenting himself as the Patriot, Rick Rubin returned Johnny Cash to his darker side in order to expose him to new audiences.
Johnny Cash wrote one of his most well-known songs, "The Man in Black" to explain just why he always dresses in black.
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Otherwise, there's no reason for me to be here.'"
Starkly arranged and sometimes mournful, the songs highlighted Cash's older and rougher sounding voice, which resonated with a raw honesty. Cash earned a posthumous Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video for God's Gonna Cut You Down. He was also posthumously honored at the CMA annual awards in late 2003, winning best album for American IV, best single, and best video.
Cash's life and music continues to resonate. In 2005, the story of his love affair with June Cash was made into a feature film, Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. In 2006, a two-CD collection of unearthed songs from an obscure recording session Cash did in 1973 was released. And the following year the community of Starkville, Mississippi, paid honor to the performer and his arrest there in 1965 for picking flowers with the Johnny Cash Flower Pickin' Festival. Cash was also issued an official pardon.
"I think he'll be remembered for the way he grew as a person and an artist," wrote Kris Kristofferson in 2004, 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."
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When it comes to singing about struggle and emotion, there are few genres that match the intensity of country music. Country music was born from musicians that were brave enough to wear their hearts on their sleeves from happiness to heartache. Because of country icons like Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jimmie Rodgers, this southern, soulful genre has grown to become loved by many. Browse through the legends that established country music as the popular genre that it is today.
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