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Johnny Cash’s Hit Song “Ring of Fire,” A Masterpiece Surrounded by Controversy


“Ring of Fire” is one of the first recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The song is surrounded by controversy that even up to know, can only be answered by Johnny Cash himself.

The good thing about it was that the controversy was overshadowed by how this song actually strengthened Johnny’s marriage to June Carter. 

johnny cash
Photo credits to flickr.com

The Controversy

Johnny’s first wife, Vivian Cash, wrote her autobiography entitled “I Walked the Line.” In here, she decided to drop the bomb and accuse June Carter that she was not the one who wrote the song. She said that Johnny only wanted to help June Carter earn some money. She accused the country singer of crediting it to his wife even though she wasn’t the one wrote it.  

She went into full details saying that it was a ‘drunk Johnny Cash’ who did it and was referencing a certain female body part while doing so. Well, no matter what the truth is, we are all still lucky that we get to hear this masterpiece of song from the ‘Man in Black’ himself. 

Cash’s Complicated Backstory

Officially, this song is stated to be written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. Kilgore is known for writing other country hits but he is much closer to the Cash family. He served as the best man to the couple’s wedding.

Speaking of wedding and marriage, it is publicly known that Johnny had some issues with drug abuse. He lived a volatile lifestyle. But with June’s guidance and patience, he was able to overcome his problems with drugs.

johnny cash
The beautiful June Carter. Taken from Johnny Cash’s official Twitter page.

June admitted that during their marriage, she was anxious most of the time. She said that being married with the country legend was like a ‘“Ring of Fire”. When you get too close to it, it will burn.

On the contrary, Johnny’s daughter Rosanne had a different view. She said,

“The song is about the transformative power of love and that’s what it has always meant to me and that’s what it will always mean to the Cash children.”

Worry not Rosanne, because country fans agree with you.

Listen to the song here:

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