Johnny Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter & one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Primarily a country music artist, his songs & sound spanned many other genres including rockabilly & rock and roll (especially early in his career), as well as blues, folk & gospel.

Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice, the “freight train” sound of his Tennessee Three backing band, his demeanor, & his dark clothing, which earned him the nickname “The Man in Black”. He traditionally started his concerts with the introduction “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash”. Much of Cash’s music, especially that of his later career, echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, & redemption. His signature songs include “I Walk the Line”, “Folsom Prison Blues”, “Ring of Fire”, “Get Rhythm”, “Hurt” & “Man in Black”. He also recorded humorous songs, such as “One Piece at a Time” and “A Boy Named Sue”, a duet with June Carter called “Jackson”, as well as railroad songs such as “Hey Porter” and “Rock Island Line.” He sold over 90 million albums in his nearly fifty-year career and came to occupy a “commanding position in music history”.
Awards and honors
Cash received multiple Country Music Awards, Grammys, and other awards, in categories ranging from vocal and spoken performances to album notes and videos. In a career that spanned almost five decades, Cash was the personification of country music to many people around the world. Cash was a musician who was not tied to a single genre. He recorded songs that could be considered rock and roll, blues, rockabilly, folk, & gospel, & 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 audience, young indie and alternative rock fans. His diversity was evidenced by his presence in three major music halls of fame: the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1977), the Country Music Hall of Fame (1980), and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1992). Only thirteen performers are in both of the last two, and only Hank Williams Sr., Jimmie Rodgers, and Bill Monroe share the honor with Cash of being in all three. However, only Cash was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the regular manner, unlike the other country members, who were inducted as “early influences.” His pioneering contribution to the genre has also been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1996. Cash stated that his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, in 1980, was his greatest professional achievement. In 2007, Johnny Cash was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.

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