Johnny Cash is considered to be one of the few best country legends. His contribution to the country music industry is irreplaceable and he is the only one who can do justice to his songs. He is also called the “Man in Black” because of his usual attire. He is an outlaw country artist who is not afraid to break the rules from time to time and he is always brave to speak up his mind.
Today, we are going to list down 5 of his best songs here on Country Thang Daily. Take note that this list is based on chart achievements, the popularity of the song (tracks that we still remember even today), and a subjective judgment from the writer. The message behind the song will also be considered as we all know that the deeper the meaning of the song is, the more that it is loved by country music fans.
5. “Walk the Line”
Johnny Cash knew his way around a love song long before falling for June and this composition was inspired by his first marriage to Vivian Liberto. Phillips was responsible for the song becoming slightly faster than the ballad that Cash originally wrote, perhaps becoming one of Cash’s best songs in his career and that is why it made its way to our top 5 list.
The song has such a strong influence that it inspired two movies – a 1970 film starring Gregory Peck and the 2005 biopic that starred Joaquin Phoenix. Both movies were done with justice as it showcased the life of the country legend and his struggles with his addiction. This was also Cash’s first number 1 song to hit the charts and it deserves the recognition that it has.
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you’re mine
I walk the line
Listen to the song here:
4. “You Are My Sunshine”
This remains to this day, as one of the sweetest songs ever created. When Johnny Cash sang this song, it gave us a different side of the singer. The single has been covered by various artists from different genres but Cash’s rendition stood out. The way he sang the song is so simple yet oozing with the right emotions and you will really feel like you are being loved. It is one of the original country music which was adapted into other genres because of its impact and the message behind it.
Even to this day, we hear the song being played on the radio or the movies we watch. While we are listening to it, we always remember the original rendition from Johnny Cash because it is that good.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are gray
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away
Listen to the song here:
3. “Folsom Prison Blues”
Image, oftentimes, is stronger than what is perceived as the truth. Johnny Cash not only performed the song great but he also conveyed such feeling of a man behind bars back in 1955. However, though the singer was arrested a few times during his life, he never spent a single night in prison but people really thought that he went to prison.
This was also why he was branded as an outlaw artist. The mere idea that he managed to convince his listeners through this song is why it sits on number 3. The lyrics also delivers a great message to it.
I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone
Listen to the song here:
From a chart standpoint, it barely caused a ripple and was not considered a success. However, any conversation concerning Johnny Cash’s songs has to include the lyrics – which took on new life from Cash, seemingly at the end of his long struggle with life and his demons. This already won the hearts of the music critics as it delivers a great yet dark meaning behind the lyrics and we are easily impressed by songs like this.
Never before had an artist been so willing to show their vulnerability at such a late stage in their career, but that’s why Johnny Cash is considered a country legend. His ability to show his vulnerability is something commendable and we could only hope that other country artists do the same in their music.
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
1. “Ring of Fire”
“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. A lot of people assumed that the song referred to the tumultuous relationship between Cash and June.
June admitted that during their marriage, she was anxious most of the time. She said that being married to the country legend was like a ‘“Ring of Fire.” The song is arguably the best one from the singer, as it details a dark experience and we could all relate to it, don’t you agree? Well, you could check all the other rankings and see that the song is really considered to be the best one from the country legend.
I fell into a burnin’ ring of fire
I went down, down, down
And the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire
Listen to Johnny Cash’s best song here:
There you have it, folks! We have listed down what we think are the top 5 best Johnny Cash songs of all time. Do you agree with the list? If not, go ahead and list down yours. We would love to read them all.