Back in 1987, the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, granted an interview with a Nashville reporter named Neil Pond. In that interview, he reflected on his past saying,

“For 31 years I’ve been staying in the finest hotels and traveling first class, but my roots are and always will be in the working man.”

The Inspiration Behind the Hit

A working-class family outing served as the motivation of the song “Flesh And Blood,” Johnny Cash’s twelfth No. 1 single on January 30, 1971. Cash, his wife, and stepdaughters Carlene and Rosie went the countryside in DeKalb County, Tennessee for a picnic. They have built a fire by the banks of a creek and they roasted hot dogs during the afternoon hours.

Johnny’s senses were overwhelmed by sights and sounds of Mother Nature. Despite the peace and beauty of the location, he realized that his love for his wife was even more important. That sentiment was the fuel for the Man in Black to the song “Flesh and Blood.” Not only that, that sentiment made him pushed the song from its debut released on December 19, 1970, to the top of the chart six weeks after.

The song also featured as one of the soundtracks of the movie “I Walk The Line.” Thereafter, it took more than five years for the Man in Black to rise again to the summit one last time as a solo artist.

In the interim, Johnny devoted most of his time to outside ventures, like producing a movie called “Gospel Road,” which was filmed on location in the Holy Land and released by 20th Century Fox. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association later picked up the film. Then, in 1975, Cash wrote and released his long-awaited autobiography “Man In Black.”

Johnny’s consistently black apparel was his trademark and he followed “Flesh And Blood” with “Man In Black,” a song in which the color became a symbol for many of the nation’s social ills. This record managed a No. 3 finish. The following year, 1972, Cash watched three consecutive releases stop at No. 2 (“A Thing Called Love,” “Kate” and “Oney”).