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Johnny Cash
The Life of an American Icon
By Stephen Miller
Omnibus Press
2003
406 Pages
ISBN:  0-7119-9626-1

Buy this Book

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.