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Johnny Cash - How come an icon?

DigiTrad:
A GIRL NAMED JOHNNY CASH
COME IN STRANGER
COUNTY LINE
DADDY SANG BASS
DELIA'S GONE
DON'T TAKE YOUR GUNS TO TOWN
FORTY SHADES OF GREEN
ONE PIECE AT A TIME
THE BALLAD OF IRA HAYES


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Danks 21 Apr 06 - 09:39 AM
Bill D 21 Apr 06 - 09:43 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 09:52 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 06 - 09:56 AM
Alaska Mike 21 Apr 06 - 09:59 AM
clairerise 21 Apr 06 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,A Cash Fan 21 Apr 06 - 10:23 AM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 10:50 AM
alanabit 21 Apr 06 - 10:56 AM
s&r 21 Apr 06 - 11:02 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 11:04 AM
Wesley S 21 Apr 06 - 11:16 AM
C. Ham 21 Apr 06 - 11:21 AM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 11:23 AM
GUEST 21 Apr 06 - 11:29 AM
C. Ham 21 Apr 06 - 11:31 AM
Maryrrf 21 Apr 06 - 12:03 PM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 12:11 PM
Wesley S 21 Apr 06 - 12:15 PM
C. Ham 21 Apr 06 - 12:30 PM
GUEST,A Cash Fan 21 Apr 06 - 12:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 12:40 PM
Richard Bridge 21 Apr 06 - 01:46 PM
Dave'sWife 21 Apr 06 - 02:16 PM
Jack the Sailor 21 Apr 06 - 02:20 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Apr 06 - 02:22 PM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 02:40 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 02:42 PM
Wesley S 21 Apr 06 - 02:56 PM
Don Firth 21 Apr 06 - 03:04 PM
GUEST,Obie 21 Apr 06 - 03:11 PM
Danks 21 Apr 06 - 03:13 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 21 Apr 06 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Obie 21 Apr 06 - 03:20 PM
GUEST,Richard Brandenburg 21 Apr 06 - 04:30 PM
Don Firth 21 Apr 06 - 05:31 PM
catspaw49 21 Apr 06 - 06:08 PM
kendall 21 Apr 06 - 07:43 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 21 Apr 06 - 09:40 PM
Rusty Dobro 22 Apr 06 - 07:36 AM
Big Al Whittle 22 Apr 06 - 10:27 AM
Flash Company 22 Apr 06 - 11:13 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 Apr 06 - 11:20 AM
M.Ted 22 Apr 06 - 01:08 PM
Danks 22 Apr 06 - 03:16 PM
GUEST,Observer 22 Apr 06 - 03:21 PM
GUEST,thurg 22 Apr 06 - 08:17 PM
GUEST,A Cash Fan 22 Apr 06 - 08:31 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Apr 06 - 08:56 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 06 - 09:33 PM
Little Hawk 22 Apr 06 - 10:02 PM
GUEST,AR282 22 Apr 06 - 10:20 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 22 Apr 06 - 10:31 PM
Little Hawk 22 Apr 06 - 10:49 PM
Pauline L 22 Apr 06 - 11:15 PM
Little Hawk 22 Apr 06 - 11:16 PM
Bert 22 Apr 06 - 11:50 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Apr 06 - 11:54 PM
Jack the Sailor 23 Apr 06 - 12:00 AM
Peace 23 Apr 06 - 01:03 AM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 06 - 01:07 AM
John on the Sunset Coast 23 Apr 06 - 01:34 AM
kendall 23 Apr 06 - 06:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Apr 06 - 07:08 AM
Jeri 23 Apr 06 - 08:39 AM
Danks 23 Apr 06 - 09:41 AM
Severn 23 Apr 06 - 10:29 AM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 23 Apr 06 - 10:29 AM
Jeri 23 Apr 06 - 10:31 AM
Jack the Sailor 23 Apr 06 - 10:34 AM
Severn 23 Apr 06 - 10:45 AM
JohnInKansas 23 Apr 06 - 10:53 AM
Jeri 23 Apr 06 - 11:14 AM
Severn 23 Apr 06 - 12:01 PM
Danks 23 Apr 06 - 01:15 PM
John on the Sunset Coast 23 Apr 06 - 01:20 PM
GUEST,Greyboy 23 Apr 06 - 01:30 PM
Don Firth 23 Apr 06 - 01:31 PM
Jack the Sailor 23 Apr 06 - 10:37 PM
alanabit 24 Apr 06 - 03:40 AM
wilbyhillbilly 24 Apr 06 - 04:54 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 24 Apr 06 - 05:27 AM
GUEST,i adore J Cash 24 Apr 06 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Bensson 24 Apr 06 - 02:28 PM
M.Ted 24 Apr 06 - 02:43 PM
Jack the Sailor 24 Apr 06 - 06:10 PM
Cruiser 25 Apr 06 - 12:42 PM
GUEST,Fan 30 Jul 06 - 09:27 AM
Jeff Beck 30 Jul 06 - 09:36 AM
Slag 30 Jul 06 - 04:36 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jul 06 - 04:49 PM
Slag 30 Jul 06 - 05:14 PM
Midchuck 30 Jul 06 - 08:40 PM
GUEST 05 Aug 06 - 12:56 PM
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Subject: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:39 AM

I'm expecting Johnny Cash to be declared a saint by the Pope shortly! Cash's "iconic" status at the moment amazes me. One thing is for sure, his music doesn't warrant him attracting so much adulation. For example, if we look at his Sun Records stable mates, I would say that Elvis, Jerry Lee, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Charlie Rich, are all greater musicians. In the the area of country music an artist like Merle Haggard is a far better singer/songwriter/musician. Cash, of course, wittingly - or unwittingly - has created a myth! Rubbing shoulders with the Sun giants got him off to a great start; then, Dylan's friendship greatly increased his credibilty. The "man in black" thing caught the medias attention, and the cultivation of his "rebel" image gave more fuel to his "legendary status. I will concede that he is talented, has written some good songs, but, come one, his current "iconic " status can not be justified.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:43 AM

de gustibus non disputandum est


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:52 AM

Danks, you are certainly entitled to your opinion of Cash but I and many others would disagree. Your statement that Haggard is a better songwriter/performer/musician is subjective at best. I think Cash developed a unique style and his music showed his skill at storytelling and bringing folk idioms into country and rockabilly.

His current "icon" status is attribituable to his passing, the movie, and several re-issues.   I'm not sure how old you are, but Cash was an icon when I was growing up in the 1960's. His recording of songs from artists like Peter LaFarge helped introduce some good songwriters to a larger audience. He dealt with issues that others in "country" would not touch. His friendship with Dylan was based on an early show of support that Cash, who was the 800 pound gorilla at Columbia Records at the time, gave to Dylan and it helped cement Dylans contract with the label. His TV series gave the finger to network censors and prevailing tastes at the time - bringing artists like Dylan, Ramblin Jack Elliot and others to the screen in primetime.

It was only during the late 70's and 80's that his career took a dive, and his recordings suffered. In the 90's he resurrected himself with a great series of recordings that showed a remarkable understanding and acceptance for contemporary song.

He will always be an icon to me and many others.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:56 AM

Because his music still gets to people after 50 years and a lot of replays.

You're way too infected with media buzz if you're this upset about it. Click off the telly, drop your subscriptions, whatever, go make your own music. You will find each person and each musician has a few heroes they hold in senselessly high regard. It just be's that way. Better John Cash than John Tesh!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:59 AM

Not much else to say. I agree with Ron.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: clairerise
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:12 AM

i loved johnny cash. not his early stuff but later in recent years his voice was OUTSTANDING.

i made my spine tingle


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,A Cash Fan
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:23 AM

A wise man once said -

"A hole is nothing but you can break your neck in it."

Watch your step Danks!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:50 AM

I'm not saying Johnny Cash isn't talented! I first saw him on UK tv in 1958 (?) singing "A Got Stripes" ( I'm not sure if that's the correct title) and I was very impressed, and for the next 5 years, or so, I bought everything that he released. However! His talent simply just doesn't warrant the iconic adulation he now receives. And I do feel irritated that he's receiving so much attention whereas greater talents are ignored. But, it has always been thus! Can't blaim Johnny, of course.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: alanabit
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 10:56 AM

I agree with every word Ron said really. No disrespect to your opinions, Danks. But all the same, Johnny Cash was just about the only country icon I ever cared about. His recordings in the seventies and eighties did not interest me much, I admit. However, his stunning final four albums alone would be enough to crown most careers. He was slave to neither fashion nor convention. He really did it all his own way. A flawed giant indeed, but a man of monumental dignity, sincerity, talent and commitment. I miss him.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: s&r
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:02 AM

Becoming an icon is not reward for talent alone. Promotion, opportunity, a fan base, exposure, image (real and perceived), self belief, luck, and many other things contribute.

Is Cash the most deserving icon? Perhaps not, but he ain't the least deserving.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:04 AM

Being an icon is not solely based on talent. The other achievments that I and others have mentioned are part of the reason why he is considered an icon.

Concerning the talent, I have to disagree with you Danks. If you ever had the opportunity to see him live in concert or if you were able to see the impact he had on country music during his life, you might have another opinion.   Again, you are certainly entitled to your opinion and I respect that.   There are many iconic figures on the music scene that just do not speak to my tastes.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:16 AM

Icons and beauty are both in the eye of the beholder. As the lady said who kissed the cow - It's a matter of taste.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: C. Ham
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:21 AM

More than almost any other singer, Johnny Cash knew how to deliver a song straight from his heart into the heart of the person listening.

When all is said and done, and with all due respect to Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, George Jones, Mere Haggard and so many others,I think he was THE definitive country music artist (and a great folksinger to boot).


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:23 AM

I wonder how Johnny - talent wise - is rated by his peers? I know that Waylon Jennings was very dismissive of his talents. Musically, Johnny was very limited. I remember an interview he gave in which he said that he was offered " The City of New Orleans" ( via a recording on a tape). He loved the song, but couldn't work out the chords! Arlo could!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:29 AM

Icons come, icons go. Means little to the individual listener, who if s/he can still choose personally despite media bombardment, chooses for hirself. In a long lifetime I've seen and found wanting so many icons that one more or less is irrelevant...haven't you?

In 50 years they'll be saying this about Britney Spears.

Status as an "icon" is about as meaningful as what kinda toilet paper you use. Not liking J. Cash is just as significant as not liking H. Bogart movies. Entirely justifiable...others disagree. Makes no neverminds.

Ya like what ya like. And there's plenty around to like, with or without Johnny -- even if you might have to go back to ancient British ballads or obscure '20s fiddle blues to find it.

BTW, my wife and I once flew on the same plane as Cash...he in 1st class of course, we in cabin. Still...we remember to this day walking by him and getting a level look from those dark eyes ... a memory to keep.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: C. Ham
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 11:31 AM

I know that Waylon Jennings was very dismissive of his talents.

Considering that Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash were frequent collaborators, and frequently expressed mutual admiration,I think it's more likely that you're full of crap.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:03 PM

I recently saw "I Walk the Line" and I didn't think Joaquin Phoenix was right for the role. He just didn't convince me - not only did he not look much like Johnny but he really didn't have Johnny's mannerisms or presence. I would agree that Johnny had some musical limitations (certainly he wasn't a great guitar player) but he had a style that was all his own and a powerful way of delivering a song - yes, I think he deserves "icon" status.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:11 PM

C Ham: Can you point me in the direction of this admiration that Waylon expressed about Johnny Cash? Just because Waylon worked with Johnny doesn't mean he admired him - musically. I think a lot of posters on this thread show signs of "buying in to the myth" of Johnny Cash.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:15 PM

I guess I'm concerned about the reason for this thread in the first place Danks. Are you hoping to learn more about Johnny Cash so your current opinion will be changed and you'll understand why many people consider him to be an icon ? Or are you trolling ? This has been a rather volatile website lately so I had to ask. We have a similar thread about the Dubliners running now. What's the point ?

There are a lot of other similar threads we could start like – "Why is Madonna consider an icon ?" or even "Cher sucks". I for one have never understood Richard Thompson's appeal. A lot of folks like him. I don't. It just never occurred to me to start a thread trashing the taste of folks who like Richard Thompson.

No one's asking you to love Johnny Cash. But wouldn't your time be better spent by telling us why you think Merle Haggard is a major talent instead of telling us why we shouldn't like Johnny Cash ? Let me know your thoughts on all of this.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: C. Ham
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:30 PM

C Ham: Can you point me in the direction of this admiration that Waylon expressed about Johnny Cash? Just because Waylon worked with Johnny doesn't mean he admired him - musically.

I've seen Waylon express admiration for Johnny Cash numerous times on TV.

Maybe you can point us to where Waylon was dismissive of Johnny's talent.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,A Cash Fan
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:31 PM

I believe I got the drift now...

Danks started this thread to berate the achievements of
johnny cash...not to in any way honor or recognize the vast contribution Cash made to the music industry

his main goal seems to be to attack and antagonize cash fans...

everybody fell for his game... this thread is worthy of deletion

or at least moving to the BS category


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 12:40 PM

Let's not start sniping. That is even worse than trolling. Whatever Danks motives, lets just let the records speak for themselves.   It isn't worth drifting this thread into one of those fights.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 01:46 PM

Couldn't play, couldn't sing. Some, however, found his delivery emotive. Some parallels with Shane McGowan then.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Dave'sWife
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:16 PM

Ron Olesko had summed it all up and quite succinctly. All I have to add is that if you are judging him based on the way the movie represented him, you would be making a huge mistake. That film is not a very accurate representation of his life.

First and foremost, nobody close to him called him "John" or "Johnny". They called him J.R. which is his actual given name. No, June Carter did not come up with the title to 'I Walk the Line" in an angry retort to a drunk J.R. - he wrote that song for his first wife before he was even invloved with June. I could go on, but I won't because most people who respect him already know these things and others. The film is unfortunately, his youngest child's revisionist views of his parent's courtship and lives. A&E Network in the USA has a wonderful 2 hour Biograppy of Cash that is much more truthful and accurate. Watch that instead and you'll hear from his close family members and fellow musicians. The photos and footage of Cash in his early career are great.

Now that I'm, done ranting about the film, let me say this:

I believe Danks might come to appreciate Cash as a songwriter much more by listening to the Tribute album of covers KINDRED SPIRITS. Some of the covers on that CD truly showcase the melodies he wrote which were often downlpayed on his own recordings. Songs such as "I Still miss Someone" (often recalled as "I'll never forget those blue eyes" here on Mudcat), "Give My love To Rose", "Flesh & Blood" and more. Also as ragged as the performance is, i adore Bob Dylan's version of 'Train of Love" a Cash gem that isn't hauled out very often. Check it out OP.



I'll leave it to Ron to continue to defend Cash's worthiness as an icon. I'm just blathering.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:20 PM

I saw the "Highwaymen" On Austin City Limits years ago. It is obvious that there was a lot of mutual respect. Willie, Waylon and Kris all showed a lot of respect for Johnny.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:22 PM

I think a lot of posters on this thread show signs of "buying in to the myth" of Johnny Cash.

Danks constructed a straw man and wants to call the shots in the discussion.

The NPR radio program American Routes did a Johnny Cash tribute program last week. (They interviewed Rosanne Cash the week before, also very interesting). Find the archive here.




Get Rhythm: A Tribute to Johnny Cash
It's a two-hour tribute in song and story to the Man in Black. We'll hear from his family, friends and associates on the contradictions--preacher, outlaw, loving family man, rockabilly rebel--that made the man. Voices include Rosanne Cash; son John Carter Cash; sister Joanne Cash Yates; bassist and original member of the Tennessee Two Marshall Grant; guitarist Johnny Western; producer Rick Rubin; writer and critic Michael Streissguth; and of course, Johnny Cash.
April 12-18, 2006
Hour One
"Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
"Get Rhythm" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
SEGMENT: Introduction
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"Big River" Johnny Cash
The Man in Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)
"Big River" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
---
SEGMENT: Growing Up
Sister, Joanne Cash Yates
Johnny Cash
Biographer, Michael Streissguth
"Pickin' Time" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
"Country Trash" Johnny Cash
Solitary Man (American)
"Five Feet High and Rising" Johnny Cash
The Man in Black 1959-1962 (Bear Family)
---

SEGMENT: Tennessee Two
Bassist, Marshall Grant
"Wide Open Road" Johnny Cash Man
In Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)

Intro Tennessee Two from "I Got Stripes" Johnny Cash
Live Recordings From The Louisiana Hayride (Scene)

"Luther Played the Boogie" Johnny Cash
Legend (Columbia)
---

SEGMENT: Sun Records
Bassist, Marshall Grant
Johnny Cash
"Hey Porter" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)
"Cry, Cry, Cry" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)


SEGMENT: "I Walk the Line"
Bassist, Marshall Grant
Sister, Joanne Cash Yates
"I Walk the Line" Johnny Cash
emcee intro Live Recordings From The Louisiana Hayride (Scene)
"I Walk the Line" Johnny Cash
The Man in Black 1954-58 (Bear Family)

instrumental: "I Walk The Line"
Red Rhodes & the Roadrunners Dobro Album (Crownstar Records) ---

SEGMENT: Family
Son, John Carter Cash
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"Don't Take Your Guns to Town" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black 1954-1958 (Bear Family)
"A Satisfied Mind" Johnny Cash
Kill Bill: Vol.2 Original Soundtrack (Maverick)
"Tennessee Flat Top Box" Rosanne Cash      
Hits 1979-1989 (Columbia)
---

SEGMENT: Faith
Biographer, Michael Streissguth
Son, John Carter Cash
Producer, Rick Rubin
Sister, Joanne Cash Yates
"Great Speckled Bird" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
Clip from the Johnny Cash
Franklin Bible Sessions (Franklin)
"By the Side of the Road" John Fahey
Of Rivers and Religion (Warner)
"Daddy Sang Bass" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-83 (Columbia)
---

instrumental: "Ring of Fire" Chas Williams
Ring of Fire (Chas Williams)
---

SEGMENT: Drugs
Johnny Cash
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"Ring of Fire" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-83 (Columbia)
---

SEGMENT: June Carter Cash
Bassist, Marshall Grant
Son, John Carter Cash
Johnny Cash
"Jackson" Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
"Wildwood Flower" Carter Family
In The Shadow Of Clinch Mountain (Bear Family)
June Carter introduces Carter Family onstage
Johnny Cash - The Man, His World, His Music (Cherry Red) DVD
"If I Were A Carpenter" Johnny and June Carter Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
---
instrumental: "Minor Tipitina" Allen Toussaint
American Routes original recording

Hour Two
"Ring of Fire" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 (Columbia)
"Ring of Fire (Spanish version)" Johnny Cash
The Man in Black: The International Johnny Cash (Bear Family)
"Rueda De Fuego" Mingo Saldivar Y Sus Tremendos
Cuatro Espadas (Rounder)
"Dub is My Occupation" King Tubby
Dub Like Dirt (Blood & Fire)
"Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
Live at Folsom Prison (Sony)
"Crescent City Blues" Gordon Jenkins
Seven Dreams (Dacca)
---

SEGMENT: Prison
Performer, Merle Haggard
Bassist, Marshall Grant
Biographer, Michael Streissguth
"Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash
Live at Folsom Prison (Sony)
"I Got Stripes" Johnny Cash
Live at Folsom Prison (Sony)
"A Boy Named Sue" Johnny Cash
Live at San Quentin (Sony)
"Doing My Time" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash (Sony)
---

SEGMENT: Original Outlaw
Son, John Carter Cash
Guitarist, Johnny Western
Biographer, Michael Streissguth
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"Cocaine Blues" Johnny Cash
Live at Folsom Prison (Sony)
"The One On The Right Is The One On The Left" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black - 1963-1969 Plus (Bear Family)
"What is Truth" Johnny Cash
The Legend (Columbia)
"The Man in Black" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black: 1963-1969 Plus (Bear Family)
---
instrumental: "Nashville Skyline Rag" Bob Dylan
Nashville Skyline (Columbia)
---

SEGMENT: Dylan
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"I Still Miss Someone" Johnny Cash
Nashville at Newport (Vanguard)
"It Ain't Me Babe" Johnny Cash
The Man In Black - 1963-1969 Plus (Bear Family)
"I Walk the Line" Bob Dylan
The Dylan/Cash Sessions (Spank)
"Girl From The North Country" Bob Dylan & Johnny Cash
Nashville Skyline (Columbia)

SEGMENT: His Career
Clip from film The Night Rider (...And More Bears) DVD
"I Still Miss Someone" Emmylou Harris
Portraits (Reprise)
"Cry, Cry, Cry" Elvis Costello & the Attractions
Almost Blue (Columbia)
"Get Rhythm" Little Richard
Kindred Spirits: A Tribute to the Songs of Johnny Cash (Lucky Dog)
"One Piece at a Time" Johnny Cash
The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983 (Columbia)
---
instrumental: "Delia" Elizabeth Cotten
Shake Sugaree (Smithsonian Folkways)
---

SEGMENT: American Recordings
Johnny Cash
Producer, Rick Rubin
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
"I Won't Back Down" Johnny Cash
American III: Solitary Man (American)
"Delia's Gone" Johnny Cash
American Recordings (American)
"Before My Time" Johnny Cash
American III: Solitary Man (American)
"Hurt" Johnny Cash
American IV: The Man Comes Around (American)
---

SEGMENT: Sickness/Death of June
Producer, Rick Rubin
"Flesh and Blood" Johnny Cash
Unearthed (American)
---

SEGMENT: Remembrances
Daughter, Rosanne Cash
Son, John Carter Cash
Bassist, Marshall Grant
"Black Cadillac" Rosanne Cash
Black Cadillac (Capitol)
"Green Green Grass of Home" Allen Shelton
Shelton Special" (Rounder)
"Wayfaring Stranger" Johnny Cash
American III: Solitary Man (American)


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:40 PM

I haven't said the man wasn't talented! I did say that I was a big fan and was heavily into him for 5 or 6 years ( I was performing the Johnny Cash songbook in the early 60s. My version of " Tennesee Flattop Box" was very popular -well, my mum liked it, anyway). What I can't reconcile is the status he has recently attained; it seems out of all proportion to his actual talent.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:42 PM

I'm sorry you can't understand why he is considered an "icon", but that is the way it is. Many of us can easily see it.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Wesley S
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 02:56 PM

Danks - Let me repeat my earlier post :

I guess I'm concerned about the reason for this thread in the first place Danks. Are you hoping to learn more about Johnny Cash so your current opinion will be changed and you'll understand why many people consider him to be an icon ? Or are you trolling ? This has been a rather volatile website lately so I had to ask. We have a similar thread about the Dubliners running now. What's the point ?

There are a lot of other similar threads we could start like – "Why is Madonna consider an icon ?" or even "Cher sucks". I for one have never understood Richard Thompson's appeal. A lot of folks like him. I don't. It just never occurred to me to start a thread trashing the taste of folks who like Richard Thompson.

No one's asking you to love Johnny Cash. But wouldn't your time be better spent by telling us why you think Merle Haggard is a major talent instead of telling us why we shouldn't like Johnny Cash ? Let me know your thoughts on all of this.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:04 PM

Okay, here's a comparison that will flummox a lot of people, but indulged me for a moment::   

I see unusual similarities between Johnny Cash and opera singer Maria Callas. Maria Callas did not have the greatest singing voice in the world. In fact, her voice sounded kind of "glassy" and, at times, a bit shrill. Not a particularly pleasant sound. But—she was a consummate actress, and although her recordings don't make the most pleasant of listening, she was marvelous to watch on stage. In comedy parts like the Rossini operas, she was funnier than hell, and in Tosca, when she stabs Scarpia, you want help her shove the dagger into him. Very intense. Live audiences loved her.

Johnny Cash was not a particularly versatile singer. He always sang in his lower register, which was warm and resonant, but limited the range of songs he could do. And among other things, a lot of the time his sense of pitch was a bit "iffy." His guitar work was simple and straight. Not a virtuoso by any means. But—he generally chose the songs he did wisely. And his accompaniments were simple and tasty, He could really put his emotions into a song in an intense, restrained sort of way that people could relate with. In addition, there was something very appealing about that somber, craggy face. Along with this, it was well known that he had spent a lot of time on drugs or hitting the bottle, and with the help of his wife, June, he manage to dig himself out of the pit, get sober, and stay sober. This has a lot of appeal. He was a flawed human being and he didn't try to cover it up. Lots of folks could and did identify with him.

Also, he appeared in a movie or two and on several television shows, not as himself (although, at least in an episode of "Columbo," he played gospel singer—spoiler alert! He was the murderer.). He was a pretty good actor.

Icon? If so, the status is well deserved.

Just my opinion.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:11 PM

I have enjoyed Cash since his early days at Sun. To say that he was lacking in talent seems to be a strange claim, when so many would disagree. Of all the country music performers in the history of sound recording, perhaps only Hank Williams Sr. casts a longer shadow. He was distinct in voice and manner, and a great songwriter to boot. He was not my all time favourite (reserved for Hank) but he was high on the list.
I was country when country wasn't cool and even before that. I listen from everyone from Henry Witter to Molly O'Day to Randy Travis, but I don't bother with the newer stuff 'cause it just ain't country.
                     Obie


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:13 PM

I'm repeating myself here - and to no avail! But, I think we are all sometimes amazed at the admiration some artist attract. And with Cash, it's way beyond admiration. If someone had told me in 1966 that I'd walk into my local record shop in 2006, and hear Johnny Cash's Sun recordings blasting out, I would have said they were crazy. Anyway, it's all way over the top - and totally out of proportion. Now, if my local record shop was playing Stan Roger's recordings ...


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:18 PM

your OPINION has been noted. Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Obie
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 03:20 PM

"Whitter" I can spell; I just can't type! Sorry Henry! :-}


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Richard Brandenburg
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 04:30 PM

As much as for what they do, people become icons because of what they represent, which includes what people project onto them, and this, I think, is what raises the ire of their detractors: iconic status suggests that one ought to be able to identify in some way with the projection. If it's hard to identify, we tend to blame the artist.

Danks, for example, seems to have difficulty in identifying with John Cash, who toward the end of his life was raised to iconic status. But I think it's a mistake to point to just the recordings, and to overlook what he represents to people on other levels beyond his music.

In Cash's case, the current popular interest has very much to do with the dignity with which he faced into his final years; how he matured into an elder in the country music field, surviving for a while the death of his beloved wife, and working right to the end, creating some of his best work. Folks are understandably moved by a life that has that contour, whoever the person is. And June herself, of course, was a Carter, at the root stock of American country music.   

On another level, Cash represents an individuated person, someone who became himself through his work and talent and his admitted, stupid mistakes. Cash was no one but himself in a field that spawns the basest imitators - and people identify with that quality, and want it for themselves. He was also a somewhat unreconstructed man of his time, struggling as a Christian, and seeking redemption by his faith and by the love of his wife; openly readable as ambivalent; and people identify with that as well.

Cash became Cash as the popular media became what it is today: it's possible to never have heard his recordings (which I suspect is true of a number of his detractors) and still have a sense of what Cash represents on the Projection Screen of his fame in the popular imagination. Particularly now, following that movie, it would be foolish to confuse the images you see with the life that got lived in the man.

It seems to me that Mudcatters are especially proud of their abilities to see through contemporary hype systems; this would be a good subject to be thoughtful toward. People feel Cash, for one reason or another. He is an icon to the extent that folks project their archetypes onto him.

The "Cash" that Danks writes about in his opening is exactly the distillation of the current media gloss; but for that very mechanism Cash exists as an archetype, like it or not.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 05:31 PM

GUEST,Richard Brandenburg, well said!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: catspaw49
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 06:08 PM

Hey Danks........Waylon built a new home a couple of doors down from the Cash place. I know this because I lived about 8 houses in the other direstion back then (we had the driveway where the tour buses turned around...Got paid for that!!!). Just a sidenote.....'cause neither one of them talked to me!

Icons are funny things and it has as much to do with their life as their talent. And the whole thing is very subjective as others have noted. All else being equal, there is simply no accounting for an individual's opinion......and we all got one.

It is often harder for me to understand why someone isn't an icon rather than why some are. Some seem destined for that status from the gitgo and others, no matter how great, will never have it. To take it completely away from music, Dale Earnhardt is perhaps now even more than a racing icon, but he certainly is that. And as good as his record was, even before his death you KNEW he would be an icon. By the same token, an equally great and perhaps even a better racer, Jeff Gordon, will NEVER achieve that status.

Try to just see that it is far beyond the individuals and something quite undefinable that makes icons.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: kendall
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 07:43 PM

Johnnie Cash stood apart from all the other "hog leg jive" pickers. He was different. Limited, yes not always on key, yes, but when he sang you knew who it was in an instant, and not just because he introduced himself.
He was one of a kind, and I liked what he did. Nuff said.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 21 Apr 06 - 09:40 PM

I've never liked any mainstream country performers except Hank williams. That includes Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn and any others who may fall into the "been-doin'-it-so-long-they're-cool" crowd. I thought they sucked in 1970 and I haven't changed my mind since then. Granted, they're more genuine than most of the current young country crowd, but so what? I'll take any good bluegrass, old-time or Irish band over any of 'em.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Rusty Dobro
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 07:36 AM

I worked at Heathrow Airport checking passports for several years in the 1970's, and of all the many celebs I remember for different reasons, the only two who literally brought the place to a standstill were Jack Nicholson (dressed all in white) and Johnny Cash (dressed all in....I think you know).

Now THAT'S why he was an icon........


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 10:27 AM

You write a song like I Walk the Line, Folsom Prison, or I Still Miss Someone.

Then you can question whatever status he put together in his life. As far as I can see he was one the greats. He deserves our respect.

As for 'he couldn't sing' - well if singing is just the number of notes you can hit, Johhny wouldn't win your nomination.

But he could interpret a song like Olivier could read Shakespeare.

Anyway I refuse to bandy words with someone whose name is rhymming slang for self molestation.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Flash Company
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 11:13 AM

Saw Johnny at Kings Hall in Manchester(UK) in about 1972. He sang a song I'd never heard him do before as a request for a lady in a wheelchair. Turned out that he never had done it before, but that's what she wanted to hear, so that's what he sang.
He didn't quite get the words right in places and the guitar was a bit basic, but so what. Thats Icon as far as I'm concerned!

FC


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 11:20 AM

Singing in tune is sometimes over-rated. :)

That voice could send shivers down your spine. It hit a visceral mark. Include that as part of the delivery when you're trying to tease out the details in what makes an "icon."

SRS


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: M.Ted
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 01:08 PM

Excellent comments, particularly from Richard Brandenburg and "Spaw(who, to the consternation of some, has become a Mudcat icon)--

An icon is an image--it isn't about singing or playing the guitar, or even writing--it is about the impression that a person creates, and the impact of that impression--

Johnny Cash projected dignity and moral authority , and he communicated it across social and cultural boundaries that nobody else could or can bridge.

Til Johnny Cash came along, country music artist were percieved as being either hicks and hayseeds with funny hats and exagerated drawls or Hollywood Cowboys--his persona was "The Complete Man", who struggled, who suffered, and who prevailed.

When you hear his name, you see him in your mind as "The Man in Black. That's why he's an icon--


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 03:16 PM

"Image is everything" - or so someone once said, and in Johnny Cash's case they were close to the mark. Take, for example, the San Quentin Prison episode. I'm sure most would agree that his performance there is one of the highlights of his career and it was a big step in his move to becoming an icon. But why? He performs to a bunch of prisoners - god only knows what crimes they were guilty of, and, of course, he takes their side! When he sings the line, " I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die", he receives a very loud cheer from the inmates. Now what's that all about? Of course, it was Johnny's unsavoury manipulation of the event. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew exactly the response he would receive. Stangely, no poster has mentioned the obvious Merle Haggard/Johnny Cash connection. It appears that Merle was in San Quentin ( as a prisoner) when Johnny appeared there and Johnny inspired him to try his hand at singing when he got out. But, I bet Merle was thinking, " If this guy is making a nice living doing what he's doing, and I could do better standing on my head, then I'm going for it when I get out".


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 03:21 PM

Sounds like a chihuahua yapping at a lion.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 08:17 PM

According to someone in the documentary that a poster mentioned earlier, that big whoop after "just to see him die" was added after the fact through studio magic ...


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,A Cash Fan
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 08:31 PM

another DANKS underhanded putdown of Johnny Cash

I bet Merle was thinking, " If this guy is making a nice living doing what he's doing, and I could do better standing on my head, then I'm going for it when I get out".


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 08:56 PM

Danks, Haggard was at San Quentin in 1958 when Cash appeared there. The LP that came out eleven later of a 1969 appearance ath prison documented something that Cash was doing his entire career -performing for prisoners. He did not excuse them of their crimes but acknowledged them as human beings. He also saw the path to redemption.

Your opinion of Haggard's thoughts about Cash do not seem to have any basis in reality. The evidence is that they were good friends and respected each other. Cash wrote liner notes to one of Haggard's albums and had him on this TV show.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 09:33 PM

Hey Danks,

Give it up...you'll never win. If you disagree with the in-group here then you are nothing but a troll trying to cause trouble. In the land of the Mudcat you have no right to have your own opinion. You either agree or you are a troublemaker.

I thought that only Guests were problem causers here (other then Martin Gibson and Shambles). Supposedly, if you tokk on a false name you could say what you wanted to whether it was politicly correct or not. Danks has a name and said what he believes. Just because some of you don't agree with him doesn't make him a troll and is no reason why anyone should challenge his motives. He has a right to his opinion whether the Mudcat in-group agrees to it or not. No need to berate him for it.

This is a good reason for a Guest to remain a Guest. Why subject oneself to Mudcat abuse?

For the record, I think Johnny Cash is one of the greats. Danks certainly has a right to his opinion though. Different strokes for different folks. I can't understand why some other performers are considered greats. That doesn't make me wrong. It's a matter of what I like and don't like.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 10:02 PM

The really crucial criteria that decide whether or not someone deserves to be an icon are...

1. Charisma (think William Shatner)
2. Uniqueness (William Shatner again...)
3. Staying Power (Shatner...)
4. Sex Appeal (Shatner...)
5. A notoriously big "Willy" (Shatner) (Note: N/A for female icons...)
6. Looking good without a shirt on (Shatner)
7. Moving unstoppably from triumph to greater triumph (Shatner)
8. Inspiring envy and even hatred in those who only WISH they could be like him! (Oooooo! Shatner. Bigtime!)

Now I think that Johnny Cash meets enough of the above criteria to qualify as a true icon. I give him definitely 1,2,3,4...5 is unconfirmed...6,7 (with a few minor setbacks like drug addiction and arrest), and 8.

Be glad, Danks, that Johnny Cash did not quite reach the Shatneric level of iconic perfection, because if he had, you would REALLY be bothered by it. I'm kind of surprised, actually, that you have not started a thread attacking William Shatner's iconic status.

If you're going to do battle with famous men, why not take on the ULTIMATE CHALLENGE? ;-)


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,AR282
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 10:20 PM

While we're bitching about something so utterly pointless, why do so many people like warm, sunny Saturdays? I mean, what's really so great about them? Oh, sure, you can have fun on those days but what about when it's Saturday but cold and rainy? Then it makes you feel even worse because it isn't sunny and warm. It would be better if all Saturdays were cold and rainy so that it wouldn't be such a bring-down for not being warm and sunny.

I remember when I too was duped into enjoying sunny, warm Saturdays in my inexperienced youthful days. Oh, I couldn't wait for the weekend, you better believe it. But only in my old age wisdom have I now come to see how I and everybody else seemed to just buy into this notion that warm, sunny Saturdays are great.

I'm not saying people are wrong. I just don't think that warm, sunny Saturdays deserve all the hype and praise people give them. I mean, if they're so great why are they only 24 hours long? A warm, sunny Saturday should last a minimum of 72 hours to deserve that kind of adulation. But 72 hours after Saturday starts it's time to be back at work. WHAT A RIP-OFF!!! Warm, sunny Saturdays are a dirty cheat!! And you stupid fools have all bought into it. Wake up, you ninnies! Start seeing what's in front of your face!

Fridays are FAR superior to Saturdays. I'll take Fridays any day of the week over Saturday. Saturday is a rip-off especially when they're warm and sunny. I like Sundays better too because Sundays keep it real. Sundays say, "Yeah enjoy it today but tommorrow you gotta go back to work." Keeps things in perspective. But Saturdays lie. Saturdays say, "Wouldn't it be nice if everyday could be a warm, sunny Saturday?" But then you have to go back to work anyway. GOD I HATE THAT!!! At least a cold rainy Saturday makes you wish for it to be over and then you can enjoy Sunday which is a better day than Saturday.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 10:31 PM

Guest makes a good point. I apologize if any of my comments made it sound like Dank's opinion was unwelcome. I do not mean to question his motives, and he or she is entitled to their opinion. While I disagree and can point to published facts that contradict some of Danks points, that is no reason for Dank to feel unwelcome. Opinions should be encouraged.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 10:49 PM

Excellent points, Guest AR282! You would have loved Saturday in Ontario today, because it rained all frickin' day and it was cold and overcast too. Just about perfect, in other words! ;-P

Anyway, you are demonstrating such a keen grasp of what it is that makes something the best that I am thinking of offering you a free course at the WSSBA where you can learn all sorts of cool stuff you didn't know about...guess who?


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Pauline L
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 11:15 PM

I'll make a shameful confession. I don't remember much about Johnny Cash from the 60s. I didn't see the recent movie because I avoid movies almost as much as I avoid TV. I'm reading his autobiography, which is great, but it has no audio. Where can I go to listen to some of his music now for free?


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 11:16 PM

The library? Or just call up various friends until you find someone who has his recordings.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Bert
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 11:50 PM

'Cos he was the best. Very few could sing the way that he did.

Do you remember when he had his own TV show and on one episode Tom Jones was the guest. They did a duet and he made Tom Jones sound pathetic. And Tom Jones wasn't that bad on his own.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Apr 06 - 11:54 PM

A guest who hasn't the courtesy to the group to get an ID and then speak as a particular individual doesn't carry much weight when they start sniping at the Mudcat membership.

If you disagree with the in-group here then you are nothing but a troll trying to cause trouble. In the land of the Mudcat you have no right to have your own opinion. You either agree or you are a troublemaker.

An individual posted a provocative statement and his statement has been proven to be not have much substance by people who have paid more attention to the subject than the original poster. The fact that he can't leave well-enough alone may or may not be a sign of a personality disorder, but it certainly is guaranteed to get a response. Which is I think what he wants. As does our sniping "guest."

SRS


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 12:00 AM

Why is Johnny Cash an Icon?

Don't ask us...

Ask Marty Stewart...

The Man Comes Around" is about the Day of Reckoning and the notion that there will be an accounting for the way in which we live on earth. It is described by Cash collaborator Marty Stuart as "the most strangely marvelous, wonderful, gothic, mysterious, Christian thing that only God and Johnny Cash could create together"

Ask Bono...

"Locust and honey...not since John the Baptist has there been a voice like that crying in the wilderness," is how U2's Bono described him. "The most male voice in Christendom. Every man knows he is a sissy compared to Johnny Cash."

Ask Merle Haggard

"I was in the prison band in San Quentin when I first saw Johnny Cash," remembered country singer Merle Haggard. "I was impressed with his ability to take five thousand convicts and steal the show away from a bunch of strippers. That's pretty hard to do."

Cash's Obit in National Review


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Peace
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:03 AM

While I liked much of Cash's work and certainly much of his writing (especially his notes on Dylan's "Nashville Skyline"), and despite having listened to the man since I was a teenager and once even having met him in my mid-teens (which was a thrill and would have been more worth telling about had I been able to do anything but stand there and gape), and while I think he wrote fantastic melodies, I don't think of him as an icon. A great; a giant in music; one helluva man--but not an icon. Hell, I don't even think of Dylan as an icon.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:07 AM

Uh-huh.

Yeah.

But what about Shatner? Eh? What about Shatner? Got ya there, eh?


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:34 AM

Danks wrote that he would have been amazed if in 1966 we would be still listening to Johnny Cash (and idolizing him) in 2006 or words to that effect. I agree with that. But if he had been in that record store in 1957, different story. Cash's early songs showed a mature approach to love and life, not a whiny losers complaint of, say Hank pere. I commend you to Hey Porter, Next in Line, Train of Love, even Home of the Blues just to name a few. During the folk years and beyond, I liked Cash, and some work is really excellent, but his last albums, with that busted, shot voice are thrilling. I listen lots to those early and late recordings. Can anyone tell me tho', why is he in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?----John


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: kendall
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 06:46 AM

As David Brinkley, news anchor for NBC national news said as the title for his book, "My opinion is as good as yours."


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 07:08 AM

life can be a shitty business. Johnny Cash gave pleasure to a lot of people, lightened a lot of dark moments for a lot of us.

Of course you have the democratic right to abuse Johhny Cash, but don't be surprised if you lose our respect by exercising that democratic right.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 08:39 AM

You have to know that respect isn't a prize won by competition. All of those guys you named can be icons. Icons are symbols - pick the ones you want. Societies make icons, not individuals, so it doesn't really matter what we think.

He's probably in the running for sainthood because 1) he was famous, and 2) he died. Simple. You were his fan for a long time, so you may be more aware of his humanity than some of those who just listened after he died. Keep in mind though, that icons and saints are completely different things. I believe he was an icon long before he died.

I watched his TV show, and claimed (to the other kids) that my parents made me when they took over the TV. Well, they DID take over the TV, but I actually enjoyed the show. I even liked HIM, although I can't remember ever admitting that to other kids. There was something dark and deep about his music, and he'd paid his dues.

He wasn't a great singer or player, but he did well enough. He wrote good songs. The brain is said by some to be the ultimate musical instrument, and he was a virtuoso at that. At a point in his life when others would have played it safe and become parodies of themselves, he recorded songs by the likes of Nine Inch Nails, and bared his soul in videos where his hands shook and he looked as fragile as a frost-touched autumn blossom. He wasn't afraid to talk about his failures. The creativity and courage remained even as his health failed. They aren't enough for sainthood - I don't believe in saints anyway. These public aspects of the man are enough for my respect and admiration, the mistakes he made along the way aren't enough to diminish those things.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 09:41 AM

As I have said previously, it's not Johnny's fault that he is an icon - although he worked hard at cultivating an image. Of course, the book/record business love icons - they sell lots! Yesterday, I was in HMV in Manchester, UK, and there was a huge area given over to Johnny's recordings. Today, I was in a Waterstones' bookshop and, again, there was a huge display given over to his biogs. A previous poster said anyone can become an icon; well, the trouble is, icons take up so much space! If a record store stocks 20 different Johnny Cash titles, they won't have space for other artists. And the bookstore that had the huge Johnny Cash display didn't have one book relating to British/Irish folkmusic. Ultimately, it was the media that decided that Johnny should me an icon. It's pretty clear to me that criticism of Johnny ( and the criticism related to his "icon" status), has been taken personally by many posters. It's as if any diminishing of Johnny also diminishes them.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Severn
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 10:29 AM

After all the years of singing and all the phases and changes, ups and downs, the truth is that every guitar player I know can pull out about 5 or so Cash songs if needed, some of them learned by osmosis, rather than consciously trying to learn them, and be able to trot them out at a gathering to a good response from warm memories and not have it considered a guilty pleasure when they are doing it. So throw away the talk of Religion, posing, personal demons and such for a moment, and just consider the place his songs hold in the people's hearts. I first heard him as a kid, and at 57 years old, I can never remember a time when some of his SONGS were ever completely out of fashion, even if he himself drifted in and out. Even you professed non-fans out there can do a few by heart and a vocal imitation of both speech and song that no matter how bad it is, people will know what you're attempting-Don't lie to me now. Neither Richard T. or Brittney has THAT down yet. (Bob Wills, yes, to some extent).

THAT, my friends, constitutes a REAL ICON. Brittney Spears, as somebody brought up, may someday become an Icon through rediscovery but Johnny Cash never completely LEFT the consciousness of the country (or Mexico or the UK) as a whole, as even such Icons as Bob Wills or Professor Longhair had to stay in the regional consciousness before all the local fans and musicians had to point them out to the masses as source points. Occaisional waning, but NO eclipse.

There 'tis!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 10:29 AM

"It's pretty clear to me that criticism of Johnny ( and the criticism related to his "icon" status), has been taken personally by many posters. It's as if any diminishing of Johnny also diminishes them."

I don't think that is the case at all. I think we are amazed that you do not see the reasons why he is considered to be such an icon. Perhaps it is because you are living in the UK and did not see the impact he had over here. It is more than an opinion, it is a statement of fact that Cash had an huge impact on the American music scene. The reasons that those of us listed above were meant to explain to you why we see it, not as a slight on our own egos.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 10:31 AM

I never thought you were attacking Johnny Cash, although I believe that's what you expected from people, so that's what you're seeing.

If you were reading my post and thinking I was taking it personally, you misunderstood something. An icon is a symbol. It's pop culture, and it probabbly DOES come down to the media. Nobody would know about Cash if not for the media. Nobody'd be able to watch all those biographical shows and news spots and the movie, buy the recordings, hear them on the radio, read reviews or newspaper/magazine articles, if the media didn't go and make them available to anybody and everybody. It's pop culture. The media go and tell people about a person, then those people all regognize him as a symbol of country music. DAMN all those people!

The thing is, and it's another point I was trying to make: it doesn't matter if we, as indivuals think someone is more deserving of representing a music genre to others. We're not going to be successful in convincing enough people to matter.

Anybody who think you're abusing Johnny Cash by preferring another musician or criticising him IS taking it a bit too personally.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 10:34 AM

Can anyone tell me tho', why is he in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Yes. He was one of the original Rock-a-billy artists and thus one of the pioneers of Rock and Roll.


Hall of fame induction.

Danks,

If there are large Johnny Cash displays in book and record stores it is because people want to buy his stuff. Either that or the stores owners want to go out of business. Its really that simple. If peopople want to buy his stuff now, after 50 years in the business, he probably deserves to be considered an "icon" as much as anyone else does.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an eye-contact?
From: Severn
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 10:45 AM

So Danks, for the memories, you can start a copycat thread called "Johnny Cash-How Come An Ex-con?" and deal with his convictions Religious and otherwise, personality quirks, excesses and abuses, occaisional self-parody, media hype and manipulations and other aspects of his life, but there remains a universiality and at least something everyone can like and respect and hum to themselves that, both because of AND in spite of all that, transcends all the rest of it.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 10:53 AM

I wonder if the real "problem" here is that the real/correct question wasn't asked.

Johnny Cash has been in the business for a long time, and those who have known him for a long time have enjoyed and respected his presence and his music. To us, there's no problem with including him in our roll of "icons" of Country music. Some of us place him pretty high on the list, and others perhaps a little lower.

I can assert that among the mostly non-professional players with whom I play fairly regularly, his songs are prominent on the list of favorites. There should be no problem with people who know him and his music holding him in respect.

Probably almost exclusively because of the recent movie and associated hype, he is being pitched as an icon to a lot of know-nothings who have "suddenly discovered" him, and are willing to buy "anything Johnny" for the moment. Mostly these "targets of commercialism" know nothing of his abilities, of any of his music that wasn't mangled in the movie, or anything of his life and career that wasn't fabricated "to make it more interesting" in the movie.

It's perhaps appropriate to ask why a whole country is subject to suddenly being momentarily obsessed with Johnny. It is not appropriate to question whether the "momentarily commercialized and exploited icon" has some talent, personality or presence to deserve this kind of "idol" status, since the status has nothing to do with the "object of worship." In this case, "idol status" comes from lots of commercial hype, managed publicity, and a lot of customers who are ignorant, vacuous drone-clones, with sufficient cash to buy what the admongers tell them is great.

Forget about it. The large displays in the book and record stores will disappear when the clones get tired, or when the next manufactured/exploited/marketed "personality" comes up. Some of the people who bought "Johnny songs" may play them a year from now, and will be - perhaps - a bit better for having learned something of him and his music. Most will be off on the next fad.

Those of who've known Johnny Cash and his music will continue to play his songs and to respect what he's meant to our music.

If you like him and his music, use the opportunity to pick up a few of the currently available CDs (or even books) now, while they're easy to find. If you've got all you need, just ignore the bubble-heads until this fad passes - and don't worry about it.

John


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 11:14 AM

Severn, some songs that last forever and people want to learn are just SO simple. They must be easy to write, and not take a lot of skill, right? They are the hardest type of song in the world to do well! (I know you knew that, I'm just pre-emptively agreeing.)

Ron, you have a point about the UK/US thing. I think there are quite a few people in the US who wouldn't even know who Charlie Rich is. I do, because he had a hit with a Kris Kristoffersen song that my mother liked (and I didn't). I know he was called the 'Silver Fox' and that he played piano. That's EVERYTHING I know about him. Maybe he was really big in the UK. Merle Haggard as a songwriter is good, but I don't like his songs as much as I like Cash's, and 'Okie from Muskogie' was something of a (well written) joke in many left-of-Atilla-the-Hun American circles. No, he most obviously did NOT mean it tongue in cheek. Certainly not hateful, but not funny either.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Johnny Cash's entire life and body of work has, in my lifetime, in my country, seeped in to the background of me. Before the media ever started with the post-mortem frenzy, he was part of the American collective consious. It just IS. There is no SHOULD BE. And who says being an icon is a good thing?

As to Waylon Jennings opinion, I found interview, originally in 'Country Music' magazine, by Bob Campbell:
CAMPBELL: Do you have any heroes?

JENNINGS: Muhammad Ali is my hero. He really is. I think he is the greatest thing to happen in twenty years. My dad is my hero, and he comes first. And old Johnny Cash is one of my heroes. He is a great man. [snipped]
'Dismissive'? Where did you hear that?


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an acorn?
From: Severn
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 12:01 PM

Simplicity can be an aspect of genius. Play a bit of one of those classic "boom-chucka-boom-chucka" intros and everyone will either know where you're going or at least where you're coming from and paying conscious or unconscious tribute to. Simple, accessable and backing up some good stories, and the mark of a good storyteller is not in the simplicity or complexity, so much as, in the end the fact that the story somehow gets across to the listener in some way or another. Johnny's stories got told effectively and got remembered generations down the line AND were easy to do so with the accompanyment they needed. People know that sound and immediately associate it with Cash, much as they'd talk of "Chuck Berry Riffs" and even more than they'd be able to acknowledge the endlessly recycled "Bo Diddly Beat" or "John Lee Hooker Boogie Riff" that also became basic building blocks of our music. He not only gave us good stories, but a simple model for a framework on which to tell stories of our own.

Deceptive simplicity can often be taken for granted, but, for example, if you ever thought Jimmy Reed's songs were overly simple and maybe a bit sloppy in execution, just listen to all the bad Jimmy Reed imitations and attempted style updates and you'll usually come back to the original, even though they are simple and fun enough that people will be playing them nonstop and covering them forever.

Cash put out a great deal of bad, indulgent stuff and went through some bad spells, but folks will be trying to match and surpass the originals of the great stuff, mostly in vain but not always, as long as there are pickers and singers. And often, especially in his last years, proved an able interpreter of the diverse material of others on some of the last American Music releases. Most people, even if not big fans, have taken some of his lessons and adopted them to their own use whether they know it or not, and most them actually know it. If you can somehow do that, you're an Icon with or without manufactured hype.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Danks
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:15 PM

I suppose I'm trying to strip away all "image" and all the "add-ons", and see what remains musically. If all we had of Hank Willaims were his recordings, would he still be a giant? If we had no biographical info on Hank, would his recording legacy still be at the core of country music? When we admire an artist its amazing how much we - the listener- bring to the table. Back in the mid-70s I was very, very heavily into Bruce Springsteen; however, by the time that I saw him in concert ( Birmingham, UK 1981), I experienced a sense of detatchment. I thought alot about this, and I eventually realized that the Bruce Springsteen I related to was a kid in Asbury Park, hanging around with his mates and forming bands; the kid that Springsteen described in his monologues in his early live bootlegs. Once that image had been replaced by a 30 year old superstar, the music wasn't enough. All the Johnny Cash "add ons" don't do it for me. It's the music, and the music alone. And, that - for me - doesn't justify all attention he receives.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:20 PM

Jack the Sailor - of course you are right about the rock-a-billy thing. I guess I just have never thought of Johnny Cash that way...I think Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, Buddy Holly and others that way, but not Cash.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Greyboy
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:30 PM

Hey Danks - are you a picker, or a singer? Just wondering.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Don Firth
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 01:31 PM

Just about anybody can sing simple songs and accompany them with simple guitar. But how many people can take that same simple song and simple guitar and do it with the kind of panache that turns it into a hit? And doesn't just turn it into a "hit" that gets played for a few weeks and then disappears, but makes it memorable?

Johnny Cash could do it. And he did. A lot.

Icon, shmicon! Johnny Cash was unique. Not very many of the current crop of guitar-playing cowboy hats can say that.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 23 Apr 06 - 10:37 PM

I'm not really comfortable calling any music artist an icon. But if any artist deserves that title, it is Johnny.

Of course right now his career is getting a lot of attention. The American sessions albums, especially the last one, giving a huge boost to his fame just before his and June's deaths added to the movie and all of the tribute albums and TV show have put a well deserved, ling overdue spotlight on him. He was a great artis and a fascinating man. But he was no icon, ;)


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: alanabit
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 03:40 AM

I am getting quite interested in this discussion, which is a better one than I feared would come about at first.
Danks has posed some questions about the way that people become icons rather because of the way that their personalities are perceived than because of their artisitic achievement. He has got me thinking about that. I am tending to the Don Firth school of thought - if I have read him correctly - that Cash became an icon rather because of what he represented about the music. That is not quite the same as the music itself. It takes a cool, critical head to separate the artist from the work.
I actually have a problem understanding the iconic status of Marilyn Monroe. She made a couple of entertaining films without ever nearing the accomplishment of a Katherine Hepburn or even Jodie Foster. The reasons she became an icon did not have much to do with her achievements as an actress.
For me - and these things are always personal and biased - Cash represented the best things about the world he came from and the music he played. For me that is enough. There are probably more than twenty Johnny Cash albums, which I would never listen to twice. I suspect the same is true for Danks. If the best of Cash's work is so important to you, that you are able to forget the less striking stuff, he is going to be an iconic figure to you.
It's a fair question.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: wilbyhillbilly
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 04:54 AM

Jack the Sailor says,"I'm not really comfortable calling any music artist an icon. But if any artist deserves that title, it is Johnny."

My sentiments exactly, some of his songs may have been classed as run of the mill, but, others have one hell of an impact, (for me anyway).

Listen to September if you can without having it affect the senses, and I have just acquired the HURT video, it brings tears to my eyes to see this great man still doing what he did best.

To me he was and always will be an icon, and everyone else is welcome to their own opinions.

Right, got that off my chest, back to the grindstone.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 05:27 AM

Surely the definitive word here is "unique".

There is only one, and there could only be one, Johnny Cash.

Not, as many have pointed out, the best singer or musician, but a truly unique entertainer.

That in itself almost defines an icon.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,i adore J Cash
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 01:32 PM

He's one of the VERY FEW singer/song writers that actually improved with age. His last 2 albums are incredible. His story is far more interesting than the "movie".


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Bensson
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 02:28 PM

Let's hear it for Johnny Cash.

In a career that spanned almost five decades, Johnny Cash was the personification of country music to many people around the world, despite his distaste for the Nashville mainstream.

Yet, like Ray Charles, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley, Cash was a musician who transcended genre.

He recorded songs that could be considered rock and roll, blues, rockabilly, folk and gospel, and exerted an influence on each of those genres.

Moreover, he had the unique distinction among country artists of having "crossed over" late in his career to become popular with an unexpected demographic, young indie and alternative rock fans.

His diversity was evidenced by his presence in three major music halls of fame:

the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,
the Country Music Hall of Fame
and
the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Only ten performers are in both of the first two, and only Hank Williams Sr. and Jimmie Rodgers share the honor with Cash of being in all three.

His pioneering contribution to the genre has also been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: M.Ted
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 02:43 PM

Let's ditch the word "icon", which is just the Sunday Times word for "Superstar"--

The most compelling icons/superstars tend to be musical artists--Elvis, Dolly Parton, The Beatles, Caruso, Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Tiny Tim, Dylan, Liberace, The Incomperable Hildegarde--they cultivate an image, because people remember an image, even after they get tired of the music--

A singer makes the songs popular--songs make the Superstar popular--

Think about this--long after his death, we all remember Liberace--but only a few of us remember his songs--


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Apr 06 - 06:10 PM

I only remember Liberace as a bad joke.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Cruiser
Date: 25 Apr 06 - 12:42 PM

Mr. Cash was not a worthy icon or idol or someone to aspire to be or admire given his drug use. We are all flawed, but it is how we deal with our faults that is worthy of admiration. How fickle humans are that a person falls in the idolatry category soon after an often fictitious movie is made about someone like Cash.

Even though I strongly disliked his persona the world is richer for some of his music, especially the earlier songs. The best Cash song is 'Flesh and Blood'. The simple lyrics reveal depths of feeling for life, love, and nature melded together in phrases that could not have been expressed more succinctly in a song. That one song made him worthwhile as a musician.

An extremely flawed individual who contributed to the world of music and became an enduring symbol? Yes. Someone who was a good role model? No, and definitely not an icon in the sense of someone worthy of emulation.

My thoughts would also apply to many other famous musicians considered idols. Perhaps their musical contributions could not have been possible without their drug abuse or flawed character. As such, in the balance, we are still enriched by their music if not by their character.

Cruiser


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST,Fan
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 09:27 AM

Songs are very good he is an icon for that not his drug taking


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Jeff Beck
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 09:36 AM

I agree with the original poster Cash is one of the most over rated people I've ever heard.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Slag
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 04:36 PM

Ok. Here'e my two cents worth. When I was in the second grade I contracted San Juaquin Valley Fever and was out of school for about a half year. My folks bought for me my first record. It was a 78 RPM, "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash. B side was the "Get a Rhythm". I about wore the thing out. It was Cash's unique voice that made him an "icon". It was always teetering on the edge of being out of tune (or "in-tune" as the case may be), deep, lonesome, kind of parlando or maybe not, but he could convey emotion with a conviction like no other.

A footnote: I had an uncle who was a Southern Baptist minister during this time who had a little church in Ventura Co. CA where Mr. Cash's mother was in attendence. My uncle said that every once in a while Johnny would slip into church during the service and then leave before the end. Some in my family attached a moral conclusion to his actions but in reality it was to avoid any disruption due to his rising celebrity status.


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 04:49 PM

well i don't, I think Johnny Cash was great. In fact i am in the process of writing a song that will endorse his iconic status:-

Johnny Cash, you're an icon
The lamp post, I lean my bike on
I'll take a picture with my Nikon
And evry time i turn my mic on
And every single road I hike on
I'll sing of Johnny, he's an icon.

that's the chorus - very catchy, don't you think?


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Slag
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 05:14 PM

I read the first couple of entries and then made the post above, then I read the rest of the discussions in the thread. It seems to me that a a lot of the disagreement would go away if you all could just agree on the definition of a few terms like "What do you mean by 'icon'?" Some sage once said that in matters of taste and beauty there is no arguement. Another said that opinions are like a certain part of one's anatomy: everybody has one. The big difference would be whether yours is a CONSIDERED opinion. That is stating why you believe someone is an icon or why not. And we do have some considered opinions on either side of Mr. Cash's celebrity/iconic status. All well and good. My next question, why all the animosity? Why the name calling (troll)? It's a valid and interesting topic. The number of responses show that. I 'd like to know more about the man and his music. But, hey, that's just MY opinion!


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: Midchuck
Date: 30 Jul 06 - 08:40 PM

Among male country singers, there's George Jones and maybe a half-dozen tied for second place. Cash was one of the half-dozen.

Pure personal opinion - but so's this whole thread.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Johnny Cash - How come an icon?
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Aug 06 - 12:56 PM

A pure ICON suberb


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