Johnny Cash, the Songs
The boxed set Unearthed, released shortly after Johnny Cash’s death in September 2003, contains a version of Cash’s classic song “The Caretaker” in which he asks, “Who’s gonna cry when old John dies?” The answer to that question is the millions of fans, admirers, and fellow musicians who have felt the power of Cash’s words and voice for the past six decades. His many recordings rank among the best in country music history. Up to the days preceding his death, Cash continued to write and record. Hundreds of his songs, including “I Walk the Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues” are among the bedrock of the country music canon. Cash’s songs tell stories of hope, despair, vengeance, lust, God, greed, violence, repentance, and love. His late recordings garnered him two Grammys and an MTV Music Award, and his final studio album went gold. His collaboration with Rick Rubin and American Records built bridges between generations and musical styles: working with singers like Nick Cave, Fiona Apple, and Joe Strummer, and covering songs by Nine Inch Nails, Glen Danzig, and Soundgarden, Cash’s last records found thousands of young, loyal listeners who wouldn’t otherwise consider themselves fans of country music.
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