Johnny Cash Song Analysis

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“Cash’s music stood for simple values: dignity, compassion for working people and the conviction that music has the power to make our world a better place.” Though Johnny Cash had his demons throughout his life, he lived with a purpose to uplift the spirits of people who listened to his music. With the help of his raw gospel sound and tenacity, he ultimately became a game changer for the history of country music. Some specific setbacks and experiences of Johnny Cash’s life such as his childhood through his time in the Air Force, his drug addiction, his Christian faith, his spousal relationships, and his outlaw image have influenced the painful and sense of hardship messages that resonate in the songs he performed. From his early childhood…show more content…
Even though the lyrics say “little brother”, that part of the song is supposed to represent Jack Cash. Cash performed this song as a dedication to his brother, but as also a homage to his family and childhood. The author writes, “The death of his brother, the heartlessness of his father, the confinement he felt in Dyess – it all began to breed restlessness in Cash…” Cash recalled the times where he would listen to the radio and think about the sadness and sense of hope he felt from the songs that played. At night he would take long walks by himself in the pitch black just humming those types of songs to himself. Cash tells the editor, “I sang through the dark, and I decided that that kind of music was going to be my magic to take me through all the dark places.” By realizing that those songs he had heard on the radio helped him through tough times, he would eventually be inspired to write and perform those type of songs of his own that would help others get through their own tough times. Later on in his life, Cash went on to join the Air Force. It was during that time that he became more serious about making music. After watching a film about Folsom Prison, Cash was inspired to write a song about it; which he called “Folsom Prison Blues”. He wrote the song in the point of view on an unrepentant killer and declared, ‘“I shot a man in Reno just to…show more content…
They are unable to break away from the detrimental cycle that they have succumbed to. The author writes, “Yet despite what the drugs were doing to him – maybe even because of what they were doing to him – Cash made some of his most daring and groundbreaking recordings in these years…that included…Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian (1964)…” Cash claimed to be twenty-five percent Cherokee Indian and he developed a passion against the unfair treatment that Native Americans had to face. He was so passionate in fact that he has an entire album dedicated to them. He created the album “Bitter Tears” that is, “his spirited and angry essay about the suffering, betrayals, violence and indifference visited upon American Indians.” The single he used to promote the album was controversial, so country music stations refused to play the song. The author writes,
“The Ballad of Ira Hayes’: the story of a Pima Indian who was among the U.S. Marines heroes who raised the flag after the bloody World War II battle of Iwo Jima. Hayes later died of neglect and alcoholism…Country radio wouldn’t touch the song, which Cash regarded as one of his best
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