Johnny Cash was a genuine American icon. An independent spirit who turned
away from a selfdes(ructive, drug-fueled lifestyle to become a musical hero
to new generations, Cash always remained a dark and contradictory man.
In this perceptive book Stephen Miller explores the conflicting life and times
of a country music hero whose long career saw him work alongside both Elvis Presley
and Elvis Costello as well as receiving honors from the Country Music and
Rock and Roll Halls of Fame.
An early supporter of the Native American cause, Cash also played legendary
concerts for the inmates of San Quentin and Folsom prisons, championed
Kris Kristofferson and Bob Dylan in their unfashionable days and was a
staunch supporter of Nixon's Vietnam policy. He made several religious
albums but divorced his first wife Vivian - a devout Catholic - to marry
June Carter who was already marred to his drinking buddy Carl Smith when
they first met.
In 1969 Cash sold more records than The Beatles, but towards the end of
his career, when his iconic status was greater than ever, American radio
would not play his music at all. Such reversals and ironies were part
of a unique musical life that began with a clutch of haunting 50s recordings
made at the Sun Recording Studios which took Cash on a country-influenced
participatory journey through a halt century of the rock'n'roll music
he had helped to found. There is simply no other story like it in the
history of popular music.
Stephen Miller has been a fan of Country Music for over 20 years and for six
years he reviewed albums and reviewed artists for Scottish radio station, Scot FM.
In the course of his research for this book he spent time in and around Nashville
interviewing people in the music industry who have worked closely with Johnny Cash
as well as members of his family. He is married and lives in Edinburgh.