Saturday, 5 July 2008

Johnny Cash

He has recorded more than 1,500 songs and they can be found on about 500 albums, counting only American and European releases.

More of his albums (45) remain in print today than most artists ever make.

He is the youngest person ever chosen for the Country Music Hall of Fame and the only person ever selected for the Country and Rock Music Hall of Fame, until this 1998, when Elvis Presley was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

He has placed 48 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop charts, about the same number as the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys.

He has tallied more Pop hit singles than Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson (including his Jackson 5 hits), the Four Seasons, David Bowie, the Supremes, Elton John, Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers, the combined totals of Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel, Martin Gaye, B.B. King, Roy Orbison, Kool & the Gang, Linda Ronstadt. Diana Ross, the combined total of all of the Osmond Family, Jerry Lee Lewis and the combined total of Lionel Richie and the Commodores.

He has won 11 Grammies, the most recent include the 1999 Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2002 shared Grammy for Best Country Album. Two of his Grammys came for writing liner notes, for his At Folsom Prison album and Bob Dylan's Nashville Skyline record.

Cash's 1987 Grammy came through his participation in The Class Of '55 recordings with the late Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis. The project represented a rebirth of "The Million Dollar Quartet" recordings featuring Cash, Perkins, Lewis and the late Elvis Presley and, interestingly enough, it predated Orbison's participation in The Traveling Wilburys.

He has had chart success as a solo artists, as part of a duet, as the leader of a trio, and as a part of the award-winning Highwayman quartet.

Long before the term "concept album" was coined, Cash created such thematically unified albums Ride This Train (1960), Blood, Seat, & Tears (1963), Bitter Tears (1964). and Johnny Cash Sings Ballads Of The True West (1965).

People forget just how hot Johnny Cash was, when his sales career was at its zenith. In the fall of 1969, Johnny Cash was the hottest act in the world, selling around 250,000 albums per month of his Folsom Prison and San Quinten albums. At that time, he was even outselling the Beatles.

As Rich Kinezie observed it Country Music magazine 10 years ago, Cash "strengthened the bonds between folk and country music so that both sides saw their similarities as well as their differences. He helped to liberalize Nashville so that it could accept the unconventional and the controversial and he did as much as anyone to make the 'outlaw' phenomenon possible."

As host of The Johnny Cash Show on ABC-TV (1969-1971), he served up 60 hours of prime-time TV, which featured performers like Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Linda Ronstadt, Ray Charles, Neil Young, James Taylor, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Kenny Rogers, Roy Orbison, Hank Williams Jr., Dennis Hopper, Judy Collins, Charley Pride, the Oak Ridge Boys, Patti Page and Merle Haggard, most rarely seen on TV back then.

His 1975 autobiography Man in Black has so far sold around 1.5 million copies, about 300,000 in hardcover.

He is one of the very few people in the history of music to sell more than 50 million records.

He has placed at least two singles on the Country charts for 38 consecutive years, including an amazing 25 hits between 1958 and 1960.

He produced and co-scripted a movie about the life of Jesus, Gospel Road, and filmed it in Israel. The film was distributed by Billy Graham's organization and is still in great demand today.

He has starred in four additional theatrical films including one of the last great westerns, A Gunfight, with Kirk Douglas. In addition, he has been a featured star in seven TV movies including The Pride Of Jessee Hallam, a hard-hitting, poignant story of one man's struggle against illiteracy. The show has proven to be a valuable tool in the battle against illiteracy.

He has posted over 130 hits on the Billboard Country singles chart, more than anyone in history, except George Jones. (Discounting duets by both men, Cash's total exceeds Jones.)

• He has won over two dozen songwriting awards from BMI; two of his songs, Folsom Prison Blues and I Walk The Line have earned million-performance citations from BMI.

Over a hundred acts have recorded Cash's I Walk The Line.

He has toured extensively for 38 years on a scope far beyond the normal tour bus routine of U.S. honky-tonks, state fairs, and showrooms. Hundreds of thousands of fans in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe have seen The Johnny Cash Show. He has toured in Vietnam and throughout the U.S. State Department, he has appeared in concert in many Eastern European nations such as Hungary, Poland and Czechoslovakia.

He has fathered four daughters (Rosanne, Tara, Cindy and Kathy) and a son (John Carter), all of whom have performed with him at one time or another. In addition, Rosanne has become our of country music's top singer-songwriters.

Cash's influence on younger musicians in the Rock/Pop field is as strong a it was in the 60's: A group of European musicians last year released Til Things Get Brighter, an album 100% composed of Johnny Cash covers by such acts as Michelle Shocked and Marc Almond. In addition, fresh recordings of Cash classics like I Still Miss Someone and Big River have recently been made by Stevie Nicks and the Beat Farmers. He is a featured guest soloist on U-2's album ZOOROPA.

His last three albums earned him Grammy Awards:American Recordings Best Folk Album 1994; Unchained - Best Country Album 1998 and Solitary Man - Best Country Male Vocal Performance 2000. Cash received the most coveted of Grammy award for Lifetime Achievment in 1999.

Cash was honored with a Kennedy Center Award in December of 1996.

Despite country music stations refusing to play his newer music, Cash and American Recordings were honored with Country Music Television-Europe's #7 Video of the Year for Rusty Cage, and Playboy Magazine honored Cash with the 1998 Music Poll Winner "Hall of Fame" Award.


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