John R. "Johnny" Cash
[As of early 2010, the online store of Johnny Cash's official website sold checks that Cash had signed—and which, according to the item's listing, were "signed using Johnny's legal name, 'John R. Cash'"; JohnnyCash.com (2010). Autographs. Retrieved 20 March 2010.] (February 26, 1932 � September 12, 2003), born J. R. Cash, was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. [Eugene Register-Guard (2003, 13 September). The Man in Black: Legendary Johnny Cash dead at 71. Retrieved on 2009-10-20.] Although he is primarily remembered as a country music artist, his songs and sound spanned many other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll�especially early in his career�as well as blues, folk, and gospel. Late in his career, Cash covered songs by several rock artists, among them the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails [D'Angelo J (August 26, 2003). "Johnny Cash says unlike most videos, 'Hurt' wasn't too painful"
. MTV. Retrieved 2010-01-20.] [Dowling S (2003). "How Johnny Cash got hip". BBC News. Retrieved 15 March 2010.] and the synthpop band Depeche Mode. [Jackowiak J (2002). "Splendid Magazine reviews Johnny Cash: American IV: The Man Comes Around". Splendid Magazine. Retrieved 15 March 2010.] [Depeche Mode's music has also been categorized as electronic rock; see Burger D (2009). "Depeche Mode puts 'rock' in electronic rock". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 15 March 2010. Despite their "synthpop" classification, then, Depeche Mode may be placed among the "rock artists" that Cash covered on his American Recordings albums.]
Johnny Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice;
[Although Cash's voice type endured over the years, his timbre changed noticeably: "Through a recording career that stretche back to 1955", Pareles writes, Cash's "bass-baritone voice  from gravelly to grave".] [Urbanski D (2003). The man comes around: The spiritual journey of Johnny Cash. Lake Mary, FL: Relevant Media, p. xiv.] for the "boom-chicka-boom" freight train sound of his Tennessee Three backing band; for his rebelliousness, [Dickie M (2002). "Hard talk from the God-fearin', pro-metal man in Black". In M Streissguth (Ed.), Ring of fire: The Johnny Cash reader. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo, pp. 201-205. Original work published 1987.] [Streissguth M (2006). Johnny Cash: The biography. Philadelphia: Da Capo, p. 196.] coupled with an increasingly somber and humble demeanor; [Pareles J (1994). "Pop Review: Johnny Cash, austerely direct from deep within". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2010.] for providing free concerts inside prison walls; [Fox JA (2005, 17 October). "The Boston Herald: Hard time's never a 'circus'". Baylor University. Retrieved 22 March 2010.] [Streissguth M (2005). Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison: The making of a masterpiece. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo.] and for his dark performance clothing, which earned him the nickname "The Man in Black". [For Cash, black stage attire was a "symbol of rebellion—against a stagnant status quo, against ... hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others' ideas"; Cash J; Carr P (2003). Cash: The Autobiography. San Francisco: HarperCollins, p. 64.] He traditionally started his concerts by saying, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash." [Schultz B (2000, 01 July). "Classic Tracks: Johnny Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues'". Mix. Retrieved 22 March 2010. Schultz refers to this phrase as Cash's "trademark greeting", and places his utterance of this line, on Cash's At Folsom Prison, album "among the most electrifying  in the history of concert recording."] [For additional quotations by Johnny Cash, consult the Johnny Cash page at Wikiquote,] and usually following it up with his standard "Folsom Prison Blues."
Much of Cash's music, especially that of his later career, echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption.
[Mulligan J (2010, 24 February). "Johnny Cash: American VI: Ain't No Grave". entertainment.ie. Retrieved 22 March 2010.] His signature songs include "I Walk the Line", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Ring of Fire", "Get Rhythm" and "Man in Black". He also recorded humorous numbers, such as "One Piece at a Time" and "A Boy Named Sue"; a duet with his future wife, June Carter, called "Jackson"; as well as railroad songs including "Hey, Porter" and "Rock Island Line". [For discussion of, and lyrics to, Cash's songs, see Cusic D (Ed.) (2004). Johnny Cash: The songs. New York: Thunder's Mouth.]
Cash, a devout but troubled Christian,
[Clapp R (2008). Johnny Cash and the great American contradiction: Christianity and the battle for the soul of a nation. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, p. xvi.] [Urbanski (2003).] has been characterized "as a lens through which to view American contradictions and challenges." [Clapp (2008), p. xviii.] [Other appraisals of Cash's iconic value have been even bolder. Clapp (2008) writes: "Very few figures in recent history are seen as more representative of American identity as Cash ... His has often been suggested as the face that should be added to the select pantheon on Mt. Rushmore", p. xvi.] [
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