Blog quotes

86 Emotional Johnny Cash Quotes

picture © Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photographs

Johnny Cash was one of the most successful music artists of all time. A country music icon, his songs and his sound embraced many genres, including rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, people, and gospel. He bought more than 90 million data worldwide.

Together with his all-black performing wardrobe, the ‘Man in Black’ turned famous for his trustworthy and sombre demeanor, free jail live shows, and calming bass-baritone voice. He opened his live shows with a simple “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash,” followed up together with his signature music, Folsom Prison Blues.

But great success came at a worth.

Cash struggled with addictions to alcohol and drugs, watched his personal life flounder, and spent nights in jails across America. Deep sorrow, moral tribulations, and the necessity for redemption are widespread themes found in his music, they usually echo a life filled with deep feelings and troublesome experiences.

In honor of the Man in Black and the lasting legacy of his music, listed here are 86 of the most effective Johnny Cash Quotes.

Johnny Cash playing an acoustic guitar and singing Ring of Fire

“Success is having to worry about every damn thing in the world, except money.” – Johnny Cash (image © Getty Photographs)

On Childhood

J.R. Cash was born on February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas to Ray Cash and Carrie Cloveree (née Rivers). He was the fourth of seven youngsters, four boys and three women. When Cash was three years previous, the household settled in Dyess, Arkansas, a “New Deal” colony that had been established to provide poor households the chance to work land that they might later own.

From the age of five, he labored within the cotton fields together with his family, singing with them as they labored. At house, J.R. and his siblings listened to gospel music and the radio.

On Might 12, 1944, an accident occurred that was to vary Johnny Cash’s life and outlook. His older brother Jack, with whom he was very close, was fatally injured at the high school he was working in. He was pulled into an unguarded table noticed whereas slicing oak into fence posts, and was virtually reduce in two; he died from his accidents every week later.

In his autobiography, Cash spoke of the guilt he felt over this incident, as he, his mother, and even Jack himself all had a deep sense of foreboding about that specific day. His mother urged Jack to skip work and go fishing together with his brother, but he insisted on working to convey the cash house to his household.

The household’s private and economic struggles through the Nice Melancholy inspired lots of Johnny Cash’s later songs, particularly these about poor staff who have been dealing with comparable difficulties.

Three young brothers running through a rye field together in Pennsylvania

“I knew I wanted to sing when I was a very small boy. When I was probably 4 years old. My mother played a guitar and I would sit with her and she would sing and I learned to sing along with her.” – Johnny Cash

“You’ve got to know your limitations. I don’t know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way.”

“I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way.”

“I’m very shy really. I spend a lot of time in my room alone reading or writing or watching television.”

“That was the big thing when I was growing up, singing on the radio. The extent of my dream was to sing on the radio station in Memphis. Even when I got out of the Air Force in 1954, I came right back to Memphis and started knocking on doors at the radio station.”

“My father was a man of love. He always loved me to death. He worked hard in the fields, but my father never hit me. Never. I don’t ever remember a really cross, unkind word from my father.”

Johnny Cash quote on top of dark blue water with sunlight shining on it

“God gives us life and takes us away as He sees fit.” – Johnny Cash

On Work

Cash enlisted in america Air Pressure on July 7, 1950. He did his primary coaching at Lackland Air Pressure Base and his technical coaching at Brooks Air Pressure Base, each in San Antonio, Texas. He was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Cellular of the U.S. Air Drive Safety Service in Germany, the place he labored as a Morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions.

He was honorably discharged four years later, and returned to Texas. It was during his army service that he acquired the distinctive scar on the best aspect of his jaw because of surgical procedure to take away a cyst.

Later that yr (1954) Cash and his young wife Vivian moved to Memphis, Tennessee. He bought appliances while learning to be a radio announcer, enjoying with guitarist Luther Perkins and bassist Marshall Grant by night time.

Cash worked up the courage to go to the Solar Data studio in hopes of a recording contract. However when he auditioned for Sam Phillips, singing principally gospel songs, the producer advised him that he not recorded gospel music.

Sam Phillips was rumored to have informed Johnny Cash to “go home and sin, then come back with a song I can sell.” Cash ultimately gained over the producer with new songs delivered in his early rockabilly type. In 1955, Cash made his first recordings at Sun, “Hey Porter” and “Cry! Cry! Cry!”, which have been launched in late June and met with success on the nation hit parade.

“This business I’m in is different. It’s special. The people around me feel like brothers and sisters. We hardly know each other, but we’re that close; somehow there’s been an immediate bonding between total strangers. We share each other’s triumphs, and when one of us gets hurt, we all bleed – it’s corny, I know, but it’s true. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s great. It turns up the heat in life.”

A recording microphone like the one Johnny Cash used in Memphis

“I learn from my mistakes. It’s a very painful way to learn, but without pain, the old saying is, there’s no gain.” – Johnny Cash

“That was the big thing when I was growing up, singing on the radio. The extent of my dream was to sing on the radio station in Memphis. Even when I got out of the Air Force in 1954, I came right back to Memphis and started knocking on doors at the radio station.”

“You’ve got a song you’re singing from your gut, you want that audience to feel it in their gut. And you’ve got to make them think that you’re one of them sitting out there with them too. They’ve got to be able to relate to what you’re doing.”

“I took the easy way, and to an extent I regret that. Still, though, the way we did it was honest. We played it and sang it the way we felt it, and there’s a lot to be said for that.”

A dark gray stone wall with a Johnny Cash quote

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash

“People call me wild. Not really though, I’m not. I guess I’ve never been normal, not what you call Establishment. I’m country.”

“If you aren’t gonna say exactly how and what you feel, you might as well not say anything at all.”

“I love to go to the studio and stay there 10 or 12 hours a day. I love it. What is it? I don’t know. It’s life.”

“It’s like a novelist writing far out things. If it makes a point and makes sense, then people like to read that. But if it’s off in left field and goes over the edge, you lose it. The same with musical talent, I think.”

A record player with its needle touching the vinyl of a Johnny Cash record

“They’re powerful, those songs. At times they’ve been my only way back, the only door out of the dark, bad places the black dog calls home.” – Johnny Cash

“The things that have always been important: to be a good man, to try to live my life the way God would have me, to turn it over to Him that His will might be worked in my life, to do my work without looking back, to give it all I’ve got, and to take pride in my work as an honest performer.”

“When I record somebody else’s song, I have to make it my own or it doesn’t feel right. I’ll say to myself, I wrote this and he doesn’t know it!”

“You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it.”

“Life is rough so you gotta be tough.”

A large vinyl record with a smaller record on a turntable in the background

“I start a lot more songs than I finish, because I realize when I get into them, they’re no good. I don’t throw them away, I just put them away, store them, get them out of sight.” – Johnny Cash

On Life

1957 saw Cash bringing out the music for which he turned most well-known: “Folsom Prison Blues” and “I Walk the Line,” the latter turning into primary on the country charts and even crossed over into the pop chart. “Home of the Blues” followed and that same yr, Cash turned the primary Sun artist to release a long-playing album.

Although he was Solar’s most persistently selling and prolific artist at the moment, Cash felt constrained by his contract with the small label. Phillips didn’t want Cash to report gospel music at all, and was paying him a 3% royalty fairly than the usual fee of 5%. In 1958, Cash adopted in Elvis Presley’s footsteps and left Solar, signing a lucrative supply with Columbia Data.

His single “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” turned certainly one of his largest hits, and he was finally capable of report a set of gospel songs for his second album. Once you hear the identify Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison involves thoughts. Within the late fifties he started to carry out live shows in California prisons like Folsom and San Quentin, which led to successful stay recordings. Central to The Present: The Journey of Johnny Cash documentary, which premiered at SXSW, these live shows propelled his fame to new heights.

As his career started to actually take off, Cash began consuming heavily and became addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates. He briefly shared an house in Nashville with Waylon Jennings, whose own habit fueled Cash’s.

He relied on stimulants to stay awake during excursions, and though individuals turned a blind eye to his “nervousness” and erratic conduct, his drug habit was worsening. It led to cancelled performances, and Cash was arrested seven occasions for misdemeanors.

In 1967, the singer was jailed for the night time in LaFayette, Georgia. He was released after an extended speak from Sheriff Ralph Jones, who warned him concerning the hazard of his conduct and his wasted potential.

An acoustic guitar leaning against a white pillow with leaves embroidered on it

“Of emotions, of love, of breakup, of love and hate and death and dying, mama, apple pie, and the whole thing. It covers a lot of territory, country music does.” – Johnny Cash

“If this were a movie I’d be the bad guy.”

“There’s a lot of things blamed on me that never happened. But then, there’s a lot of things that I did that I never got caught at.”

“Beneath the stains of time the feeling disappears, you are someone else I am still right here.”

“There’s no more simple life with simple choices for the young.”

“However, neither he nor anyone else could have become the star Elvis was. Ain’t nobody like Elvis. Never was.”

The hands of a guitar player playing an acoustic guitar

“Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight.” – Johnny Cash

“Somehow there’s been an immediate bonding between total strangers. We share each other’s triumphs, and when one of us gets hurt, we all bleed – it’s corny, I know, but it’s true.”

“We’re all in this together if we’re in it at all.”

“You miss a lot of opportunities by making mistakes, but that’s part of it: knowing that you’re not shut out forever, and that there’s a goal you still can reach.”

“The ones that you’re calling wild are going to be the leaders in a little while.”

“I’m not bitter. Why should I be bitter? I’m thrilled to death with life.”

View of an empty cell through prison bars at Folsom Prison

“Convicts are the best audience I ever played for.” – Johnny Cash

“I love weather. I’m a connoisseur of weather. Wherever my travels take me, the first thing I do is turn on the weather channel and see what’s going on, what’s coming. I like to know about regional weather patterns, how storms are created in different altitudes, what kinds of clouds are forming or dissipating or blowing through, where the winds are coming from, where they’ve been. That’s not a passion everybody shares, I know, but I don’t believe there are any people on earth who, properly sheltered, don’t feel the peace inside a summer rain and the cleansing it brings, the renewal of the earth in its aftermath.”

“If you aren’t gonna say exactly how and what you feel, you might as well not say anything at all.”

“Money can’t buy back your youth when you’re old, a friend when you’re lonely, or peace to your soul.”

“It’s good to know who hates you and it is good to be hated by the right people.”

An audience of hundreds of people all facing a stage off camera

“The battle against the dark one, and the clinging to the right one, is what my life is about.” – Johnny Cash

“A rose looks grey at midnight, but the flame is just asleep. And steel is strong because it knows the hammer and white heat.”

“You can ask the people around me. I don’t give up. I don’t give up… and it’s not out of frustration and desperation that I say I don’t give up. I don’t give up because I don’t give up. I don’t believe in it.”

“It makes me so mad that some people underestimate the wisdom and energy of young people. All because they don’t look the way older folks think they should look. I’m working on a song about it. Maybe some of those closed minded people will realize long hair and tattoos don’t mean they should be ignored. Close minded people are part of what’s wrong with this world.”

An American flag waving to depict country music in America

“When I think about country music, I think about America.” – Johnny Cash

“I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine.”

On Love

Johnny Cash had met Vivian Liberto in San Antonio in July 1951, simply earlier than his 3-year deployment to Germany. They married a month after his discharge, and had 4 daughters: Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy, and Tara. Liberto filed for divorce in 1966, stating Cash’s critical drug and alcohol abuse, constant touring, and affairs with other ladies, as reasons. She then raised the couple’s four daughters alone.

Cash met the love of his life, singer June Carter, while he was on tour. The two turned absolutely infatuated with each other, even if they have been both married to different individuals (and Johnny’s continued habit issues). In 1968, 13 years after they first met, Cash proposed to June throughout a reside performance in London, Ontario. They married on March 1, 1968, in Franklin, Kentucky and went on to have one youngster together, John Carter Cash, who was born March 3, 1970.

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash continued to work, increase their baby, create music, and tour together for 35 extra years, till June died in Might 2003. Cash said that he believed that his solely cause for dwelling was his music. He passed away just four months after she did, on 12 September 2003.

Their nice love story is central to the 2005 biographical movie Stroll the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon as Johnny and June.

A flat white with a thistle pattern in its foam at Filament Coffee in Edinburgh

“This morning, with her, having coffee. [his description of paradise]” – Johnny Cash

“For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide.”

“Happiness is being at peace, being with loved ones, being comfortable…but most of all, it’s having those loved ones.”

“There’s unconditional love there. You hear that phrase a lot but it’s real with me and her [June Carter]. She loves me in spite of everything, in spite of myself. She has saved my life more than once. She’s always been there with her love, and it has certainly made me forget the pain for a long time, many times. When it gets dark and everybody’s gone home and the lights are turned off, it’s just me and her.”

“When my wife died, I booked myself into the studio just to work, to occupy myself.”

“Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, I got on my knees and told her that I was going to marry her some day. We were both married to someone else at the time. ‘Ring Of Fire’ — June and Merle Kilgore wrote that song for me – that’s the way our love affair was. We fell madly in love and we worked together all the time, toured together all the time, and when the tour was over we both had to go home to other people. It hurt.”

“Flesh and blood needs flesh and blood, and you’re the one I need.”

Johnny Cash and June Carter standing on a runway outside a PanAm plane

“Loneliness is emptiness, but happiness is you.” – Johnny Cash image © George Stroud/Stringer, Getty Pictures

“She’s the greatest woman I have ever known. Nobody else, except my mother, comes close.”

“There’s no way around grief and loss: you can dodge all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully, come out the other side. The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left.”

“I’m not really concerned about boundaries. I just follow my conscience and my heart. Follow your heart. That’s what I do. Compassion is something I have a lot of, because I’ve been through a lot of pain in my life. Anybody who has suffered a lot of pain has a lot of compassion.”

“Life and love go on, let the music play.”

A country music singer in a snap shirt playing a Japanese round guitar

“All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate…I choose love.” – Johnny Cash

“The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and Heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from Heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has. She’s never been one for me except courage and inspiration. I thank God for June Carter. I love her with all my heart.”

On Religion

Early in 1967, Cash had a religious epiphany within the Nickajack Cave. Cash, underneath the influence of medicine, supposedly tried to commit suicide. He descended into the cave, making an attempt to lose himself and “just die,” however as an alternative passed out on the floor.

There he felt God’s presence in his heart and followed a faint mild and slight breeze out of the cave to security. To him, the incident represented a rebirth – a second probability.

June and her mother and father Maybelle and Ezra moved into Cash’s mansion for a month to assist him get off medicine. It took time for him to interrupt his addictions to medicine, however June, their son John Carter Cash, and his faith, finally helped Johnny Cash to get back to life on the straight and slender. He additionally developed a friendship with Billy Graham, and was inspired to supply a film about Jesus’ life.

Close-up os a country western guitar in Memphis Tennessee

“Creative people have to be fed from the divine source. I have to get fed. I had to get filled up in order to pour out.” – Johnny Cash

“I don’t have Paul’s calling – I’m not out there being all things to all men to win them for Christ – but sometimes I can be a signpost. Sometimes I can sow a seed. And post-hole diggers and seed sowers are mighty important in the building of the Kingdom.”

“If you don’t get outside every day, even for a minute, you have not appreciated what God has done. It makes you grateful for our surroundings, and it starts your day differently.”

“No matter how much you’ve sinned, no matter how much you’ve stumbled, no matter how much you fall, no matter how far you’ve got from God, don’t give up. You can still be redeemed. As someone says, keep the faith.”

“Life is the question and life is the answer, and God is the reason and love is the way.”

Hands holding up electric guitars, acoustic guitars, a keyboard, and a Macbook

“I am not a Christian artist, I am an artist who is a Christian.” – Johnny Cash

“I read novels but I also read the Bible. And study it, you know? And the more I learn, the more excited I get.”

“We’ll all be equal under the grass, and God’s got a heaven for country trash.”

“God’s the final judge for Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash too. That’s solely in the hands of God.”

“I have tried drugs and a little of everything else, and there iss nothing in the world more soul-satisfying than having the kingdom of God building inside you and growing.”

“I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God.”

Two Lag Tramontane guitars leaning against the base of a wooden stage

“There is a spiritual side to me that goes real deep, but I confess right up front that I’m the biggest sinner of them all.” – Johnny Cash

“How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man.”

“The Master of Life been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where other saw oblivion. He Has given new purpose to live for, new services to render and old wounds to heal. Life and love go on, let the music play.”

“My arms are too short to box with God.”

“The gospel of Christ must always be an open door with a welcome sign for all.”

“Jesus will not fail me, I shall not be moved.”

A Ryrie Study Bible laying open to Psalms on a wooden desk in dim light

“When God forgave me, I figured I’d better do it too.” – Johnny Cash

On Being ‘The Man in Black’

Early in his profession, Cash was given the nickname “the Undertaker” by fellow artists as a result of he had a habit of sporting black clothes. He stated he selected them because they have been easier to keep wanting clean when performing each night time on lengthy excursions; and it was also the one colour that he and his bandmates all had in their traveling wardrobe.

By 1970, the picture of Johnny Cash as ‘The Man in Black’ was absolutely shaped. In distinction with the rhinestone fits and cowboy boots worn by other main country acts, Cash stood out for performing dressed all in black, sporting an extended, black, knee-length coat. He is also recognized to have stated that he wore black for the poor and the hungry, in honor of the prisoner who had paid for his crime, and in mourning for the lives misplaced by People within the Vietnam Struggle.

The Man in Black singing into a microphone at a country music concert

“Everybody was wearing rhinestones, all those sparkly clothes, and cowboy boots. I decided to wear a black shirt and pants and see if I could get by with it. I did and I’ve worn black clothes ever since.” – Johnny Cash Picture © Dan Poush/AP Photograph

“I wear black because I’m comfortable in it. But then in the summertime when it’s hot I’m comfortable in light blue.”

“I was wearing black clothes almost from the beginning. I feel comfortable in black. I felt like black looked good onstage, that it was attractive, so I started wearing it all the time.”

“I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion — against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.”

“I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town, I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime, But is there because he’s a victim of the times. I wear the black for those who never read.”

The Man in Black playing a guitar and singing Walk the Line

“Until things are brighter, I’m the man in black.” – Johnny Cash (picture © Getty Pictures)

10 Johnny Cash Details

1. In accordance with his son John Carter Cash, Johnny Cash’s favourite books have been The Bible, Gary Jenning’s Aztec, Og Mandino’s Biggest Salesman in the World, and Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet.

2. He purchased his first guitar in Öberammergau, Germany, while in the US Air Pressure.

3. Cash turned an ordained minister, and presided over the wedding of his daughter Karen.

4. He didn’t write his most well-known music. “Ring of Fire” was written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore, and was truly released first by June’s sister Anita Carter. Cash made it his personal by including the Mariachi horns.

5. During a lodge keep within the 1950s, Cash and his bandmates let 500 child chicks unfastened.

6. Johnny Cash was a campaigner for Native American rights. In 1966, the Seneca Nation’s Turtle Clan adopted Cash for his activism.

7. He released an unimaginable 96 albums and 170 singles over a profession that spanned from 1954 to 2003.

8. Cash wrote two autobiographies, many years apart. Man in Black was written in 1975, and Cash: The Autobiography in 1997.

9. A species of tarantula in Folsom, CA is known as after him: the “Aphonopelma johnnycashi.”

10. Only two individuals have been inducted into to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Corridor of Fame: Hank Williams and Johnny Cash.

Bonus Reality: The opening montage of Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake of Daybreak of the Lifeless is about to Cash’s iconic track, The Man Comes Around.

Did we overlook any of your favorite Johnny Cash Quotes? Tell us or submit your favorite and keep impressed!