Johnny Cash, also known as the Man in Black, was a country singer from the mid 1950's all the way up to the final months of his life in 2003. Sadly, at the start of his career, Cash began to drink heavily and became addicted to Amphetamines and Barbiturates. At one point, Cash shared an apartment in Nashville with another Amphetamine Addict, Waylon Jennings, another well known Country singer. His drug problems would persist through out his life and push him to the limits, but he would bounce back every time.
Amphetamines is a Stimulant and a Appetite Suppressant. This increases heart rate, blood pressure, and decreases appetite,among other effects.Amphetamines may cause dizziness, blurred vision,or restlessness, and it may hide the symptoms of extreme tiredness. Johnny Cash used them during his tours to stay awake. This could be harmful physically because it means you wont get enough sleep which would then lead to either irritability or loner like qualities in your social life. And all of those can lead to thinking bad about yourself and maybe even considering suicide like Johnny did on multiple occasions.
Barbiturates are a broad range of drugs that are all just Central Nervous System Depressants. Now, Barbiturates are still used in general anesthesia, the treatment of a few migraines and head aches and the occasional assisted suicide and euthanasia (where Legal). For people like Cash who use Barbs recreationally, they do it because if makes the feel relaxed or content and euphoric feelings. Other symptoms include drowsiness, lateral and vertical nystagmus, slurred speech, and Ataxia. One of the major physical hits that it can bring is straight death. You can also begin to slur or have involuntary eye movement, which can affect your self esteem and how others see you. That could also lead to bad thoughts or even thoughts of suicide because you don't feel others understand you or they just don't like you.
Alcoholic beverages are exactly what they sound and if used in high amounts can lead to Alcoholism. Alcoholism can really impair someones ability to stop drinking and can lower your mental health causing psychiatric disorders, depressed moods, or an increased risk of suicide. Alcoholism can cause the cirrhosis of the liver, pancreatitis, epilepsy, polyneuropathy, alcoholic dementia, heart disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, peptic ulcers, damage to the nervous system, and alcoholic liver disease. Socially alcoholism can make you depressed which in turn can ruin your personal relationships because you're just not up to it. The excessive drinking can also ruin your friendships because they are just done dealing with your problems. All of these can attribute to your depression and make you want to kill yourself because you are alone, not because you feel alone.
Cash's Early Life
Johnny Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas on February 26, 1932,one of the seven Children of Ray Cash and Carrie Cloveree. In May of 1944, Jack; John's older brother; was pulled into a whirling head saw where he worked and was almost cut in two. Jack suffered for over a week before he died at the age of 15 on May 20, 1944. Ironically, John, Jack, and their mother had premonitions or a sense foreboding that day. Their mother urged Jack to just go fishing with John, but they needed the money and so Jack went. Later Cash said he looked forward to meeting his brother in Heaven.
Cash was taught to play the guitar by his mother and a childhood friend, Cash began writing and playing songs by the age of 12. In high school he sang on a local radio station. Cash enlisted in the USAF on July 7, 1950, he went through basic and technical training and was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron mobile of the U.S. Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, Germany. He was a Morse Code Intercept Operator for Soviet Army transmissions. While in Landsberg he created his first band, The Landsberg Barbarians". He was the first radio operator to pick up news of the death of Joseph Stalin. Cash returned to Texas on July 3, 1954.
Marriages and Family
On July 18, 1951, Cash met 17-year-old Vivian Liberto at a roller rink in San Antonio. They dated for three weeks before Cash was deployed to Germany for a Three Year Tour. The couple exchanged hundreds of pages of love letters. One month after his discharge, on August 7, 1954, they were married at St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church in San Antonio. They had four girls: Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, and Tara. Vivian filed for divorce in 1966 because of Cash's drug and alcohol abuse as well as all the touring, the affairs, and his Close relationship with June Carter.
In 1968, 13 years after they first met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Cash proposed to June Carter, of the Famed Carter family, during a live performance in London, Ontario. They married in Franklin, Kentucky on March 1, 1968; they had one child on March 3, 1970, John Carter Cash. Johnny and June continued to work and tour together until June's death in May of 2003. Cash died four months later.
Cash and Vivian moved to Memphis in 1954 where he sold appliances while studying to be a radio announcer. Cash soon worked up the courage to go and audition for a contract at Sun records. Cash eventually won over Phillips with his early Rockabilly Style and in 1955, he recorded "Hey Porter" and "Cry! Cry! Cry!" which was met with success on the Country Hit Parade. In 1956, Elvis Presley dropped by the studio, and would soon join in on an impromptu Jam session with Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash. Phillips decided that this would be something to record and now can be found as the Million Dollar Quartet.
Cash and Sun Records wouldn't last because it was constraining him and he wasn't able to record gospel like he wanted. He then left Sun for a more lucrative Colombia Records. In the early 60's he toured with the Carter Family and also appeared on the short lived TV series Rainbow Quest. Around this time, Cash started to drink heavily and started using barbiturates and amphetamines to stay awake during tours. During his spiral out of control, Cash was still delivering hits such as "Ring Of Fire". In June, 1965, Cash's truck caught fire due to an overheated wheel bearing, triggering a forest fire that burnt several hundred acres in Los Padres National Forest in California.When Cash finally settled the case, he paid the government 82,001 and said he was the only person ever sued by the government for starting a forest fire. This was not Cash's only run in with the law, he had been to jail seven times for misdemeanors, but only for a single day each time. In 1965 however, Johnny was arrested in El Paso by a Narcotics squad who suspected he was smuggling heroin from Mexico. They didn't find Heroin, but they did find 688 Dexedrine capsules and 475 Equanli tablets hidden in his guitar case. Since the pills were prescription, Cash only got a suspended sentence.Cash's final arrest was in Georgia where he was involved in a car accident and had a bag of pills on him. Cash had a talk with Sheriff Jones leading to his release and a benefit concert because he felt that Jones had saved his life.
Cash had a spiritual epiphany about his use of drugs, when he attempted suicide in Nickajack Cave while under the influence of drugs. He went deep in the cave hoping to die but he felt god in his heart and followed a breeze and a faint light out of the cave despite his exhaustion. This was his moment of rebirth which led to the marriage of Cash and June and the return to his christian faith. He eventually got over his addiction only to go under to it two more times by the 2000s. Throughout the 70s and 80s, Cash had been in, narrated, or sung on many different shows, performances, and movies. During this time, we learn the reason he wears black, he wore black on behalf of the poor and the hungry, the prisoner who has long since paid for his crime, and on the behalf of those who have been betrayed by age or drugs. He also wears it because of the Vietnam War; he wears it to mourn for those lost and those that could have been.
Cash was friendly with every president since Nixon, his closest one was Jimmy Carter, who became a close friend and a distant cousin of June. In 1980, Cash became the youngest living inductee in the Country Music Hall of Fame at the age of 48. In 1983, Cash relapsed because of prescription painkillers administered for an abdominal injury caused by a kick from an Ostrich from his farm. He had Double Bypass surgery (he apparently had a Near Death Experience) and refused painkillers, fearing he may become dependent again. During the 80s, Cash released the song "Chicken in Black " to protest his label for not paying him enough attention and a little while after this he and Columbia parted ways. He tried working with Mercury Records unsuccessfully, but later joined American Recordings. During this time, he covered many popular songs chosen by Rubin and his career was revived for the 90s.
In 1997, Cash was diagnosed with Shy-Drager Syndrome, which was later altered to Autonomic Neuropathy associated with Diabetes. During the next few years, Cash released two albums that were more somber than any of his previous. "Hurt" fit Cash's view of his past and feelings of regret. June Died on May 15, 2003 and she told him to keep working, which he did. Cash completed 60 songs in the last four months of his life, and even performed a few surprise showings at the Carter Family Fold in Virginia. Two years after his death in September of 2003, his estate was sold to Barry Gibb. Two years later during a major renovation, Cash's Home was accidentally burned down by workers using linseed oil products.