Rosanne sings her seventh chart topper, "Tennessee Flat Top Box."

Rosanne Cash in the official music video of “Tennessee Flat Top Box.” Photo from YouTube via Screengrab

Separating her Music from her Parent

Being a daughter of Johnny Cash, you might think that Rosanne Cash’s career was an easy ride. In fact, it was and a long drive from that thought. The family name Cash was kind of a burden for her. As a child, she would suffer from being teased by her classmates by having a hillbilly father. She hated her father when he tried forcing her to learn a hundred country classics. Eventually, she came to accept her parental ties but she still refused to draw them in her music career.

Rosanne Cash didn’t have any help from Johnny to get a recording contract. However, she ended up signing with Columbia records, the foundation of Johnny Cash career. Having all of that said, she did a tour with her father for a short while back in the 1970s, but she had her own kind of music.

It was obvious that she purposely separated her career from her father’s, although, when popularity came her way, she became comfortable with her musical roots. She even did a duet with the Man In Black in “That’s How I Got To Memphis” by Tom T. Hall for her album, Somewhere In The Stars.

On the sixth album of Rosanne, “King’s Record Shop” she covered one of Johnny Cash’s hits, “Tennessee Flat Top Box.” It was a 1962 single that only peaked at No. 11. She knew that her father recorded the song, however, she didn’t know that Johnny wrote the song himself as well.

A Childhood Lullaby

When she recorded the song, Rosanne Cash said that it was like recording a childhood lullaby. She had heard of the song so many times, she thought it was the song had to be in the public domain. However, his husband (during that time) and also her producer, Rodney Crowell kept telling her that Johnny Cash was also the composer of the song. She couldn’t believe it, she had to do a research. So the couple went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and they found out that it was indeed Johnny Cash who wrote the song. Enlightened by the truth, the words she said was:

“Well of course! Who else could have written it?”

Rosanne’s version of “Tennessee Flat Top Box” reached the summit of the Billboard’s Country Singles chart on February 1988. It was the seventh of her eleven chart toppers. Johnny Cash was very happy with what she did. Having said that, he actually took out a full-page ad just to thank Rosanne. In the ad, Johnny said that he was glad his daughter remade the song. Johnny also was honored that his daughter recorded one of his songs. Not only that, during that time, he was thrilled that the song skyrocketed all the way to the top of the national chart. The Man In Black proclaimed the success of Rosanne with “Tennessee Flat Top Box” was one of his life’s fulfillment.

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