Johnny Cash, the magnificent Man in Black, is to have his life honored later this year when a museum dedicated to his memory will open in country capital Nashville, TN. Cash, whose life was immortalized in the 2005 movie Walk the Line, would have been 80 this month. He died aged 71 in 2003. Cash’s inevitable descent into the dark world of the artist began when he was a child living in Arkansas, picking cotton and singing with his family at the tender of five. His immersion in gospel music led to country stardom, but the tales of amphetamine addiction and hard drinking are what keeps much of the Johnny Cash legend alive. Cash is without question one of country music’s best loved stars, thanks to a slew of storming country hits like “A Boy Named Sue”, “Ring of Fire” and “Folson Prison Blues”.
The Johnny Cash museum will be situated in the very heart of Nashville on Lower Broadway, “Right in the middle of the hubbub,” according to his son John Carter Cash. This year will also see groundbreaking for the Johnny Cash Boyhood Home Project, an Arkansas State University initiative designed to further highlight the jewels in that state’s crown. The world hasn’t forgotten Johnny Cash in what would have been his 80th year on the planet.
Among the more, er, interesting facts about Johnny Cash are the following:
- A run-in with an ostrich left him with five broken ribs.
- He began smoking cigarettes when just 12 years old.
- He lived next door to Roy Orbison for more than 20 years.
- His choice of all-black clothing was a good luck charm, not a fashion statement.
- He once broke a toe trying to bust out of a jail cell after being arrested for trespassing.
- Despite an association with prisons, Cash only spent seven nights in jail during his lifetime.
- In the video for “Delia’s Gone”, Cash ties up and buries English model Kate Moss.
- Muhammad Ali once wrote a poem for him, called “Truth”. Cash kept it in a vault.
- Despite being an airman, Cash suffered from aviataphobia (fear of flying).
- An old camper van was his refuge during crazed amphetamine runs out in the desert. The camper was nicknamed “Jesse James” and its windows were sprayed black.
There are hundreds more factoids about Johnny Cash, but it’s ultimately his music that earns him the enviable status of being the only country star who people frequently refer to as, “The only country music I like”. THAT’S talent…Let’s raise a big glass of whiskey to Johnny, and to hell with the Surgeon General.