"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space."
John R. Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas on February 26th, 1932 to Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash. He was one of seven children. At the age of three, his family moved to Dyess, Arkansas so that his father could use the New Deal farming programs put in by President Roosevelt. He was involved in music at a young age, picking up a guitar for the first time at 12. His family was involved
After graduating from high school, Cash moved to Pontiac, Michigan and got a job as a floor sweeper at an auto plant. It didn't last long. He quit the job within a month. He went to join the U.S. Air Force in Texas. There, he met Vivian Liberto which would end up being John's wife. For four years after a few months of training, he worked in Landsberg Germany as a radio interceptor and he would join in on Soviet Union conversations.
It was in Germany that Cash started to pay more attention to music. He wrote his first song there (Folsom Prison Blues) with a few of his friends and performed it.
After 4 years in the Air Force, he came back to the states and settled in Memphis, Tennessee. He met up with some of his friends that he met when he was working at the auto plant. Because they lived in Tennessee, they named themselves Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Two. (Also known as The Tennessee Two.) The band included Johnny Cash, Marshall Grant and Luther Perkins. After a while, W. S. Holland joined the band as drummer thus changing the name to Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three. These musicians quickly created a close relationship with each other. At the same time, Elvis was just releasing his first album with Sun Records owner Sam Phillips. The Tennessee Three looked into Sun Records recognizing how successful Phillips was with producing Elvis's first album. They asked Phillips if they could audition. He eventually gave in. Later that year they took a trip to Sun Records, and auditioned in front of Phillips. He said that he enjoyed the voices, but he didn't like their gospel based songs because of the limited crowd. He advised them to go practice a bit more, and write some original songs. They thanked him for letting them audition, and they walked away proud and hopeful that they would be able to get a producer.
About 3 months later, the 4 of them returned to Sun Records to perform "Hey Porter". Phillips agreed to produce some of their songs.
Cry, Cry, Cry was their second hit reaching #14 on the Billboard Charts. Other hits included So Doggone Lonesome and one of the songs Cash had previously performed, Folsom Prison Blues. The band didn't hit big fame until they released I Walk the Line which was at one time, #1 on the charts. With all of their hits, they were able to join the some of the best artists at that time such as Elvis Presely, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. They were known as "The Million Dollar Quartet". In 1957 Cash became a father of 2 (Kathy and Roseanne) and he released another album named, "Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar".
In the 60's, Cash had moved his family to Ventura, California and he had been going on a "tour spree" one could say. He was away about 300 days a year releasing hit songs one after another. Some of them included "Ring of Fire" and "Understand Your Man". He was also heard on many radio shows. At this time he was involved in drugs and was under the influence of alcohol much more than normal. His wife, Vivian Liberto wasn't happy with his constant touring and drugs and she applied for divorce.
In 1980, Cash was admitted as the youngest singer into the Country Music Association Hall of Fame.
Over the years, Johnny Cash joined up with some other musicians and he had tired to get rid of his addictions. He had released two other records with his new members, The Highwayman 2 and The Road Goes on Forever.
In 2002, he released American IV: A Man Comes Around with a mixture of original and cover songs. After this album, he started to wear down on his musical life and he only released a few new albums. Later, he released American V: A Hundred Highways.
Cash was filmed in the movie "Walk the Line" which showed Cash's life story. This was one of the last public appearences Johnny Cash made.
In 2004, he was shown as the 31st greatest muician of all time on the front page of the "Rolling Stones"