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Johnny Cash Chords

Johnny Cash

Looking for Johnny Cash chords? We got you covered, with all Johnny Cash chords for guitar, ukulele and piano. Known as “The Man in Black”, Johnny Cash single-handedly redefined several genres throughout his staggering career, which spanned half a decade. His 97 studio albums have established him as one of the best-selling artists of all time, and his legacy continues to live on.

Once upon a time in Arkansas

Johnny was born as J. R. Cash, as the fourth of seven children. Raised in poverty during The Great Depression, his childhood and youth were ruled by tragedy. When he was just 12 years old, his elder brother Jack, whom Johnny was incredibly close to, died in a horrific accident involving a table saw. It has been said that Johnny was never the same afterward, and the incident inspired several songs.

**Military & musical beginnings **

At age 18, Johnny enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, serving four years in Texas and West Germany. In Texas, he met his future wife Vivian Liberto. While in Germany, he formed the Landsberg Barbarians with some comrades, which allowed him to play a few live shows and try his hand at songwriting.

After being discharged in 1954, Johnny and Vivian got married and moved to Tennessee, where he continued to play music on the side while mainly working as an appliance salesman. Together with two fellow mechanics, he formed the gospel band Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two. Hoping to score a record deal, they approached Sam Phillips of Sun Records, who agreed to give them a chance on the condition that they ventured away from gospel and more towards country and blues.

The band produced a few Top 10 tracks, including “Cry, Cry, Cry” and “Folsom Prison Blues”, but it was the 1956 release of “I Walk The Line” that catapulted Johnny into mainstream awareness. The song was an instant commercial success, charting at #1, and was followed by the debut album Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar!.

Fame and its dark sides

By the early ‘60s, Johnny and Vivian had relocated to California, but he spent most of his time touring the country. It was during this time that he met June Carter of the Carter Family, who co-wrote his signature song “Ring Of Fire”.

But his newfound fame and the rigorous touring schedule were taking its toll on Cash; he began drinking and abusing drugs excessively, neglecting his wife and three daughters. Unable and unwilling to deal with his behavior, Vivian eventually filed for divorce in 1966.

After a drug-related near-death experience, Johnny finally got the help he needed in the form of June Carter, whom he fell in love with. She helped him get clean, promising that she would marry him if he gave up the drugs. He proposed to her on-stage during a show in 1968. The pair were married a month later.

Revival & legacy

In 1969, he began hosting The Johnny Cash Show, showcasing temporary musicians, such as Bob Dylan, Kenny Rogers and Louis Armstrong. By this time, Cash had become known as “The Man in Black”, due to his exclusively black wardrobe. Adding to his joy was the birth of his and June’s child, John Carter Cash.

His career continued to flourish in the 70s, with more hit-singles and a best-selling autobiography, which led to him becoming the youngest living person to be elected for the Country Music Hall of Fame.

He started doing more and more collaborations, teaming up with fellow artists like Roy Orbison, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. He even teamed up with U2 to record the track “The Wanderer” with them.

Despite his deteriorating health and continued substance abuse issues, he pushed on. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award seven years later.

In May 2003, his beloved June passed away. They were married for 35 years, and after her death, Johnny was quoted as saying: “I need to have something to do every day. Otherwise, there's no reason for me to be here.” Johnny died four months after June due to complications with diabetes.

His life and achievements have been honored posthumously. He won several awards after his death, and in 2005, the movie “Walk The Line” starring Joaquin Phoenix was released to critical and commercial success.

For piano, ukulele and guitar chords for all Johnny Cash hits, take a look below.

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