Known as the Man in Black, Johnny Cash was a popular singer in the mid-1900s. Covering many genres of music, he was also a songwriter, a musician, and an actor. Not only was Cash popular for his music albums, but he also was famous for his roles in many movies and TV shows. Even though he had a harsh childhood, Johnny Cash continued to persevere toward his dream goal.\
Johnny Cash Facts
1. Johnny Cash Did Not Have a Middle Name.
When his parents were deciding on his name, his mother wanted to name him “John” while his father wanted to name him “Ray.” To avoid further conflict within the family, they named him J.R. Cash. The initials J.R. was his first name, and Cash was his last name. An interesting fact about Johnny Cash is that he did not have a middle name during his early childhood.
However, he made a middle name for himself during the military enlistment. Back then, the military recruiters wouldn’t accept initials for a first name, so J.R. Cash was renamed as John R. Cash. Even today, many historians debate on his middle name since the letter R could have stood for Ray (Cash’s father) or for Rivers (Cash’s mother).
2. Johnny Cash Started Out His Music Career With a $5 Guitar.
Immediately after WWII, Germany was separated into East and West Germany. East Germany was under Russian control while West Germany was under the control of the United States, France, and Great Britain. After enlisting in the Air Force, Johnny Cash was deployed to keep up a strong military presence in West Germany.
During this time, Johnny Cash bought a $5 German guitar, and he started his music career by teaching himself how to play the guitar, an interesting Johnny Cash fact. Even though he was just a beginner, he was involved in a ragtag band that inspired his love for music once more. After his involvement in a small band, he later improved to join a popular band that rocked the nation.
3. Cash Also Started a Fire That Destroyed 500 Acres of Land.
While he was in California, Johnny Cash made several mistakes, which many times led him to a jail cell. One of his mistakes was being addicted to drugs. After being in a wild party, Johnny Cash was under the influence of drugs, and he didn’t know that his party truck was about to explode. Because it was a dry season, a little spark was what it took to lead to a huge fire.
When it finally combusted, fires raged across the mountains of California that lasted for several long hours. When the firefighters finally got it under control, 49 endangered condors were burnt to a crisp. To look at all the damages, 508 acres of land were set on fire, and 49 of 53 endangered condors were roasted alive. To cover his costly mistake, Johnny Cash paid nearly 1.5 million dollars.
4. Johnny Cash Was Arrested Several Times Due to His Smuggling Drugs.
As his addiction went from bad to worse, his performance also deteriorated as well. Even during a performance, Johhny Cash used drugs to fuel his energy, and he even smashed instruments during a live concert, a crazy fact about Johnny Cash. When his drug supply went dry, Johnny Cash resorted to smuggling cheap drugs across the border.
During the night, he would cross into Mexico, and he would smuggle huge loads of drugs back into the United States. Several times, Johnny Cash was caught with his illegal drugs and was sent to prison for his misdemeanor. Due to his severe addiction, Johnny Cash divorced his first wife, and his four young daughters were lost to him forever.
5. Johnny Cash Performed in Prison to Gain Popularity
Due to his drug addiction, the popularity of Johnny Cash literally dropped to the floor, and many invitations to public and private concerts were canceled except for just one. Starting out as a small band, Johnny Cash conducted several concerts before going live. Also, his prison concerts abled him to have several interviews with the prisoners inside.
When his new songs were unveiled at a prison concert, Johnny Cash instantly grew in popularity and fame. In addition, he was able to make a music album just by using his recordings of the prison concerts. His prison songs hit #1 on the pop-song chart for 10 consecutive times, and his name became a legend among modern pop-artists.
6. Johnny Cash Performed a Live Concert for US President Richard Nixon.
After receiving an invitation from the White House, Johnny Cash had an opportunity to speak with President Richard Nixon. During the interview, President Nixon asked Johnny Cash to perform an impromptu concert, which Cash agreed with little reluctance. However, it was the President’s turn to be surprised when Johnny Cash began his singing.
During this period, United States was involved in the Vietnam War, and President Nixon was facing many anti-war movements to ban the military drafts. When Johnny Cash began his live concert, his songs were filled with anti-war ideologies, an interesting fact about Johnny Cash. Due to his actions, Johnny Cash wasn’t close friends with Richard Nixon, but his songs got his political views across to the public.
Conclusion: Johnny Cash Stood for What Was Right.
Over the years, Johnny Cash was known for his public scandals, but he was popular due to his political reforms. Due to his previous experiences in a jail cell, Johnny Cash was familiar with the US prison systems, which were kept in a bad condition. Since there was low support for prison reforms, Johnny Cash many times visited Washington D.C. for additional help.
When nobody answered his call, Johnny Cash used his popularity as leverage to gain political influence. Due to his songs, he was able to gain support even from the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. Later in life, Johnny Cash was able to put a huge effort into prison reforms, and his prison concerts were able to get him a huge following.
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