Johnny Cash was known as The Man in Black and was a legend of country music. September 12th marks the anniversary of the day the world loss Johnny Cash. In 2003 the music world mourned the loss of the voice of an outlaw and an advocate for human rights. Ten years after the loss of Johnny Cash there are still many fans of his music and those still discovering his music for the first time. The Man in Black had many hit songs but here is a list of 10 essential Johnny Cash songs everyone should have in their music collection.
10 – A Boy Named Sue
The story of the life of a young man who was named Sue by his father as a lesson to learn how to defend himself since his father was not around. The young man is determined to find the man that named him Sue. The song shows how the young man realizes his father had taught him how to fight even though the father was not around.
9 – Man in Black
Johnny Cash became known as the Man in Black due to his view on human rights. This song lists the type of people Johnny stands up for and why he chose to wear black suits on stage.
8 – September When It Comes
Johnny sings with his daughter Roseanne on this one. The hurt in the voices of both Johnny and his daughter brings life to this story. Johnny’s voice is rough as his age began to show through his music but this song shows an insight into where he was in his life at that time.
7 – Folsom Prison Blues
In 1955 this song became a hit for Johnny and he decided it was time to record an album at a prison. In 1968, Johnny was able to record an album at Folsom Prison. Johnny wrote this song in 1953 after viewing a movie about the prison and the song often lead inmates to write to Cash through the years requesting him to perform for the prisoners at various prisons throughout the country.
6 – Jackson
Johnny Cash did have a few hits with his wife June Carter Cash and this is one of those songs that is a must add to the list. The banter between the two through the lyrics in the song is sweet and their voices blend well in the chorus of the song.
5 – (Ghost) Riders in the Sky
The deep tone of Johnny’s voice in this song is the key to making the song a hit. Johnny included many songs that show his spiritual beliefs and his voice in those songs shows his level of the strong belief he had in religion.
4 – One Piece at a Time
The last number one song Johnny had in 1976 and the story of an automobile factory worker who would take pieces to build his own car through taking one piece at a time to build that car.
3 – I Walk the Line
Just a few guitar riffs on this song and listeners know which hit this is. Cash shows his dedication to his loved one. Most listeners know this song due to the movie of the same title.
2 – Ring of Fire
A song which was co-written by June Carter Cash and turned into a hit by Johnny Cash this is another essential song to add to any Johnny Cash playlist. With horns which were not heard often in country music and gave flare to another song that Johnny was known for.
1 - Hurt
Johnny covered a Nine Inch Nails song that many in the record industry were unsure how the song would be viewed by Johnny’s audience. In true Johnny Cash fashion, as an artist, he made this a signature tune and the video featured an aging Johnny and June and a look back over his career.