Johnny Cash: Country Music’s "Man in Black" Dies at 71

Nashville, Tennessee, USA – The man with the deep, dark voice that sang songs about the common man, the convict and the coal miner, Johnny Cash, finally succumbed to respiratory failure due to the ravages of diabetes on Friday morning at Baptist hospital in Nashville, Tennessee.

In recent years Cash had also suffered from autonomic neuropathy, pneumonia and a stomach ailment that kept him from this year’s MTV Video Awards.

Mr. Cash’s musical career spanned more than 50 years that began at Memphis’s famed Sun Records. His career included such hits as “I Walk the Line,” “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues” and “A Boy Named Sue.”Cash garnered 10 Grammy Awards and earned a place in the County Music Hall of Fame, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriter Hall of Fame during his long career. Keeping up with the times, Cash also received the award for the Best Cinematography in a Video at the MTV Video Music Awards in August 2003 for the video “Hurt.”

Identified by his black attire, a penchant for drugs, alcohol and carousing, Johnny Cash earned a bad boy mystique that followed him throughout his career, even after he gave up the booze and the drugs. It was Cash’s rockabilly rhythm coupled with song lyrics about the downtrodden in America that put a dent in country music’s glitzy, clean-cut image and made him popular with America’s Everyman.

Johnny Cash was a crossover artist that appealed to both rock fans and country fans. Cash didn’t leave out gospel fans either with classic versions of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “Peace in the Valley.”

Cash’s death comes only four months after the death of his wife June Carter Cash, who died from complications from heart surgery at the age of 73.

Johnny Cash is survived by daughters singer Rosanne Cash, Kathleen, Cindy and Tara from Cash’s first marriage to Vivian Liberto. His is also survived by one son, from his marriage to June Carter Cash, musician and producer John Carter Cash.

He will be sorely missed by music fans everywhere.

Author: TJ Nelson

TJ Nelson is a regular CD reviewer and editor at World Music Central. She is also a fiction writer. Check out her latest book, Chasing Athena’s Shadow.

Set in Pineboro, North Carolina, Chasing Athena’s Shadow follows the adventures of Grace, an adult literacy teacher, as she seeks to solve a long forgotten family mystery. Her charmingly dysfunctional family is of little help in her quest. Along with her best friends, an attractive Mexican teacher and an amiable gay chef, Grace must find the one fading memory that holds the key to why Grace’s great-grandmother, Athena, shot her husband on the courthouse steps in 1931.

Traversing the line between the Old South and New South, Grace will have to dig into the past to uncover Athena’s true crime.