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“The person starts by taking the drugs, but then the drugs start taking the person, that’s what happened to me” said Johnny Cash about his own addiction, in his autobiography Man In Black. Johnny Cash was born In a small town in Arkansas and used his musical talent and Incredible story-telling valuables to win the hearts of Americans during the sass Into the sass.
But all that fame and fortune can take Its toll on a person and cause that person to resort to desperate measures In order to go on with their lives.
Johnny Cash’s decisions during his time of fame and the legalization of his faults give way to him being called a tragic hero. Johnny Cash was a child of the depression and was no better off than most families of the plane states during the sass.
Born J. R. Cash, Johnny grew up picking cotton in the small town of Dyes, Arkansas. J. R. Wouldn’t become the infamous Johnny Cash until July of 1950, when he signed up for the Air Force. The Air Force would not accept his initials of J. R. , so Cash quickly chose the name Johnny. Cash spent four years in the Air Force and was even transferred to Europe for almost 2 years.
During this time, Cash kept a relined close to home named Vivian Liberty and they would be wed in June of 1954 when Cash returned home.
Cash’s free time In the Alarm Force led to his love of music and although the road to fame would be rough, In time Johnny Cash would become a country music legend. Cash auditioned for Sam Phillips at Sun Records on September 9, 1954. The audition went well, and although Phillips likes Cash’s authentic voice, he warned that he would be pushing Cash to sound more mainstream. Cash’s first single came out in March of 1955 however; it was not a hit with listeners.
But Cash did not give up and his next single brought more and more anus to his music. Cash’s fame continued to grow and in 1958 he welcomed a new record contract with Columbia Records. A few years later, in 1 962 Cash would make his debut at Carnegie Hall in New York and he would also begin his own show on BBC, The Cash Show. The following year, Cash would record his best selling single “Ring of Fire. ” The hectic lifestyle off musician became too much for Cash to handle, and he began to look for help In all of the wrong places which would lead to his downfall. Once I knew how to drink beer and look for a girl, It was no big thing o drink the hard stuff and look for a fight” said Cash in 1962 on his post performance tendencies (Turner 35). Cash also later spoke of “graduating” from beer to cognac and having “wild times” in which he would learn how well he could curse (Turner). Cash would wander town and drunk and high off of amphetamines and was becoming “the city saddest Joke” (Campbell 152). Cash would be arrested for the first time in November 1961 on the charges of Public Drunkenness, and his new habits and addictions would lead to four more arrests over the next 5 years.
In 1967 Cash would be sued for $125. 00 for starting a forest fire in a wildlife refuge in California. For the last time, In 1967 Cash would be arrested for Public Drunkenness in Lafayette Georgia. But these addictions began to run his life and this was obvious to fans, friends and family. “Even Cash’s days off were Immensely In a haze of amphetamines and tranquilizer. Johnny Cash seemed to sink as low as a human get” (Campbell After a long night in jail, Cash realized what he had let happen to his life, 149). Ana Immediately wanted to TAX every mistake en Ana ma e a . “L don’t ever want out AT this cell again.
I Just want to stay here alone and pray that God will forgive me and then let die because I’m too weak to face everyone that I’ll have to face. Known’ that my family is heartbroken, known’ that my friends and fans are hurt and disappointed- it’s more that I can reconcile with them. ” Later that same month, Cash contacted DRP. Nat Winston, the Tennessee Commissioner of Mental Health, who told him to “get ready for the fight of your life. I’ll have to treat you as if you have no responsibilities, as if you’re a child. ” But Cash agreed, and was willing to do whatever it took to himself up.
To add to his struggles, in 1968 Cash’s marriage to Vivian Liberty ended. Only a few weeks later, Cash married June Carter who had toured with him and stuck by his side through his hard times. June was already doing her best to stop his drug habits by checking his pockets, discussing his problems and even keeping bad influences away from their home. “In Johnny’s world of demons, June was his angel” (Leopold). All of the hard work and support paid off, and Johnny Cash, became clean of drugs. Johnny Cash was also now willing to share the stories of his past mistakes with anyone who wanted to listen.
The most remarkable aspect if Johnny’s openness was that he was probably the first superstar to actually hold up his hands and admit what he’d done wrong in the past”(Campbell 199). Cash continued his music career and he acquired many awards that include: 10 Grammar Awards, A Grammar Lifetime Achievement Award, and an MET Video Award. He was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and was at the time, youngest living, and currently still is the youngest inductee into the the Country Music Hall of Fame. Johnny Cash continued his drug free life until 2003, when in May, he lost his wife
June to complications from surgery. Less than 4 months later, Johnny too passed away from respiratory problems only to be reunited with his angel. “it was a sad day in Memphis, but a beautiful day in heaven” (Leopold). To this day, Cash’s songs are still being put onto albums and sold on the top of the charts. Johnny Cash is considered a tragic hero not only because of the mistakes he made in his life, but also his ability to realize and overcome those mistakes. Johnny started as J. R. Cash a small cotton-picking boy from Arkansas and worked his way to become he most widely known name in country music.
Cash realizes and holds himself accountable for the decisions he made during his music career and the consequences that followed. But more importantly he was also responsible for his recovery and his drug free life that followed him until his passing in 2003. “He went from being as wild as Hank Williams to being almost as respected as one of the father’s of our country. ” (Craftsperson). It was Johnny’s strong will and love that allowed him to overcome these obstacles that made him Cash, “The Man in Black” and the legend that he is today.