The Big Fellah would have been 86 today.
There is one…group that likes to think of Johnny Cash as “theirs” because he was a Southerner, a veteran, a religious man, and a country music singer. That’s fine (I’d only quibble with the last one- he wasn’t a “country singer,” he was…Johnny Cash- but in our age of “co-opting” and “cultural appropriation” here are a few other things it is well to remember about The Man In Black.
He was a man who knew poverty. He championed the causes of Native Americans. He fought for prison reform. He was against the Vietnam War. He knew first hand the lure and the price of drug addiction. He used his fame to draw attention to the problem of adult illiteracy. He supported musicians you maybe wouldn’t have expected by having them on his television show- Bob Dylan, C.C.R., Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, and James Taylor to name a few.
We’re doing mighty fine I do suppose
In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes
But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back
Up front there ought to be a man in black.
Damn right, Johnny.