Johnny Cash

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I'm not bitter. Why should I be bitter? I'm thrilled to death with life.
Because you're mine, I walk the line. And then the words just naturally flowed. It was an easy song to write.

John R. Cash (26 February 193212 September 2003), born J. R. Cash and most famous as Johnny Cash, was a vastly influential American country music singer, guitarist and songwriter.


I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town.
The best way to say anything is just to say it.
  • Hello, I'm Johnny Cash.
    • Opening lines at many of his concerts and public appearances.
  • I have tried drugs and a little of everything else, and there is nothing in the world more soul-satisfying than having the kingdom of God building inside you and growing.
    • Explo 72
  • I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine.
    • From "Ragged Old Flag" on The Great Lost Performance
  • There's always been a lot of things wrong with the country, but it's always been our obligation and opportunity to help straighten those things out.

CNN interview (2002)

Larry King Live (26 November 2002)
  • Cash: I went into a coma and I was there for 12 days. They all thought I was dying and they couldn't diagnose what was wrong with me. They finally came up with a diagnosis of Shy-Drager syndrome. It was few months later they realized I didn't have that so it was Parkinson's. And then it was not that. Then finally it was autonomic neuropathy. … And I'm pretty well resolved to the fact that that's what it is. And it's a slow process of the nerve endings.
    King: No cure?
    Cash: No, I don't think so. But that's all right. There's no cure for life either.
  • I'm not bitter. Why should I be bitter? I'm thrilled to death with life. Life is — the way God has given it to me was just a platter — a golden platter of life laid out there for me. It's been beautiful.
  • People say, Well, he wore that body out. Well, maybe I did. But it was to a good purpose. They should be thankful that I wore it out to the purpose I wore it out and that was writing and recording and touring and doing concerts. Everywhere I could possibly do them that I thought I might enjoy them. I thought people might enjoy me.
  • The line "because you're mine, I walk the line." It kept coming to me, you know? But I was — I was … young and not been married too long. Yes, it kept coming to me. Because you're mine, I walk the line. And then the words just naturally flowed. It was an easy song to write.
  • I think it speaks to our basic fundamental feelings, you know. Of emotions, of love, of breakup, of love and hate and death and dying, mama, apple pie, and the whole thing. It covers a lot of territory, country music does.
  • There's always rhythm going in my mind. … I'm either singing them — June will tell you, I'm either singing them, or I have got the beat going from one, or I'm writing one.
  • You can ask the people around me. I don't give up. I don't give up... and it's not out of frustration and desperation that I say I don't give up. I don't give up because I don't give up. I don't believe in it.
  • "The Man Comes Around" is a song that I wrote, it's my song of the apocalypse, and I got the idea from a dream that I had — I dreamed I saw Queen Elizabeth. I dreamed I went in to Buckingham Palace, and there she sat on the floor. And she looked up at me and said, "Johnny Cash, you're like a thorn tree in a whirlwind." And I woke up, of course, and I thought, what could a dream like this mean? Thorn tree in a whirlwind? Well, I forgot about it for two or three years, but it kept haunting me, this dream. I kept thinking about it, how vivid it was, and then I thought, Maybe it's biblical. So I found it. Something about whirlwinds and thorn trees in the Bible. So from that, my song started and... "The Man Comes Around." The song turned out to be "The Man Comes Around."

Song lyrics


All songs written by Johnny Cash, except as noted

  • I lie awake at night to wait 'til you come in.
    You stay a little while and then you're gone again.
    Every question that I ask, I get a lie, lie, lie.
    For every lie you tell, you're gonna cry, cry, cry!
  • I do my best to hide this low-down feelin'.
    I try to make believe there's nothing wrong.
    But they're always askin me about you, darlin'
    And it hurts me so to tell 'em that you're gone.
    If they ask me I guess I'd be denyin' that I've been unhappy all alone.
    But if they heard my heart, they'd hear it cryin'
    Where's my darling, when's she comin' home?'
  • I keep a close watch on this heart of mine;
    I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
    I keep the ends out for the tie that binds.
    Because you're mine, I walk the line.
  • I hear the train a comin',
    It's rollin' round the bend.
    An' I ain't seen the sunshine'
    Since I don't know when.
    I'm stuck in Folsom prison,
    And time keeps draggin' on.
    But that train keeps a rollin'
    On down to San Antone.
  • When, I was just a baby,
    My mama told me, son
    Always be a good boy,
    Don't ever play with guns.
    But I shot a man in Reno
    Just to watch him die.
    When I hear that whistle blowin'
    I hang my head and cry.
    • "Folsom Prison Blues"
  • Just around the corner there's heartache
    Down the street that losers use.
    If you can wade in through the teardrops,
    You'll find me at the Home of the Blues.
    • "Home of the Blues, written by Johnny Cash, Douglas L. McAlphin, and Glenn Douglas Tubb
  • Now I taught the weeping willow how to cry,
    And I showed the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky.
    And the tears that I cried for that woman are gonna flood you Big River.
    Then I'm gonna sit right here until I die.
  • At my door the leaves are falling;
    A cold wild wind has come.
    Sweethearts walk by together;
    And I still miss someone.
  • A young cowboy named Billy Joe grew restless on the farm;
    A boy filled with wanderlust who really meant no harm.
    He changed his clothes and shined his boots;
    And combed his dark hair down.
    And his mother cried as he walked out.

    Don't take your guns to town son;
    Leave your guns at home Bill.
    Don't take your guns to town.

Greatest! (1959)

  • Hey, get rhythm when you get the blues.
    Hey, get rhythm when you get the blues.
    Yes a jumpy rhythm makes you feel so fine.
    It'll shake all the trouble from your worried mind.
    Get rhythm when you get the blues.
  • Hey porter! Hey porter!
    Would you tell me the time?
    How much longer will it be till we cross that Mason Dixon Line?
    At daylight would ya tell that engineer to slow it down?
    Or better still, just stop the train,
    Cause I wanna look around.
  • So we raise her up every morning
    And we bring her down slow every night,
    We don't let her touch the ground,
    And we fold her up right.
    On second thought
    I do like to brag.
    Cause I'm mighty proud of
    That Ragged Old Flag.
    • "Ragged Old Flag"
Performance on YouTube
  • There's a man goin' 'round takin' names.
    An' he decides who to free and who to blame.
    Everybody won't be treated all the same.
    There'll be a golden ladder reaching down.
    When the man comes around.
  • The hairs on your arm will stand up.
    At the terror in each sip and in each sup.
    Will you partake of that last offered cup,
    Or disappear into the potter's ground.
    When the man comes around.
  • Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers.
    One hundred million angels singin'.
    Multitudes are marching to the big kettle drum.
    Voices callin', voices cryin'.
    Some are born an' some are dyin'.
    It's Alpha and Omega's Kingdom come.
  • Whoever is unjust, let him be unjust still.
    Whoever is righteous, let him be righteous still.
    Whoever is filthy, let him be filthy still.
    Listen to the words long written down,
    When the man comes around.

Quotes about Cash

  • We were in the studio, getting ready to work — and I popped it in, by the end I was really on the verge of tears. I’m working with Zach de la Rocha, and I told him to take a look. At the end of it, there was just dead silence. There was, like, this moist clearing of our throats and then, "Uh, OK, let’s get some coffee."

See also

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