Contact Us
Make My Homepage

To Mark His Birthday, Here Ben’s Top 5 Johnny Cash Performances

Johnny Cash Memorabilia
(Photo by Stephen Chernin/getty Images)

It’s been over ten years since one of the most important musicians ever passed away. Johnny Cash died on September 12, 2003 four months after the passing of his wife of 35 years June Carter Cash.

Johnny Cash is one of my favorite artists of all time. His music has been in my life since before I can remember. His journey, struggles, triumphs, strength and honesty have been a constant inspiration and comfort as I try to make my way in the world. I love all kinds of music but, Johnny Cash is the soundtrack in my soul. Here are my top 5 favorite Cash performances.

“Folsom Prison Blues” (1968)

Subscribe to KXRB-AM on

Like the best storytellers Cash gets into the lives of people and tells their tale with mature empathy. “He saw himself as an entertainer who could make a difference in their lives, even for an hour,” –Jim Marshall

“Man in Black” (1971)

Subscribe to KXRB-AM on

These three or so minutes still give me goose bumps. If I hear it once I have to put it on repeat and hear it 20 more times. There is compassion for his fellow man in this song. Not conditional compassion but genuine love. At the same time there is real anger, not hippie anger, but real disdain for the real evils of the world. He sees the world as you see it and feels your pain.

“Drive On” (1994)

Subscribe to KXRB-AM on

This song comes form the first of Cash’s American Recording albums and marks the beginning of his partnership with produce Rick Rubin. This entire album is pure magic. Just Johnny and a guitar, free from corporate oversight and Nashville pressure. He does some great covers and some originals on the album but Drive On is my favorite. Cash tells the story of a Vietnam Vet from the Vet’s perspective, taking the listener inside his head to feel his reality.

The Man Comes Around (2002)

Subscribe to KXRB-AM on

One of the things that made Cash such a great artist was his faith. He was honest about his relationship with God. He didn’t use it as marking or to pander. He truly believed and struggled. And he shared that belief and those struggles with the listener. This song from the 2002 is off his fourth American album. I love this song because it is dark and forbidding and joyful. Its about revelation; ending of the known and beginning of unknown; death and life; light in the dark. It was one the last songs Cash wrote before his died.

“One Piece at a Time” (1976)

Subscribe to KXRB-AM on

It wasn’t all death and oppression with Johnny, there were fun songs too. Like 1976’s One Piece at a Time. Its the story of a guy that wants to save a little money on a new car.

“Ain’t No Grave” (2010)

I’m gonna throw in one more. This is the title track from his 2010 posthumous album.

Subscribe to KXRB-AM on

NEXT: Celebrate Bob Newhart’s 84th Birthday With Some Of His Classic Comedy

Best of KXRB

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for KXRB Classic Country VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive KXRB Classic Country VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.