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Johnny Cash: fame, family and the rigours of the road

Johnny Cash is well established as one of the great rising stars of American country music. By 1959, his songs I Walk The Line, Cry, Cry, Cry, Guess Things Happen That Way and Ballad of a Teenage Queen were top 10 hits that had propelled him into a gruelling schedule of constant touring. Don Seith of CBC affiliate station CFPA in Port Arthur, Ont. catches up with Cash before a show on one of his first visits to Canada. In this interview on CBC Radio's Assignment, they talk about the longevity of rock and roll versus that of country music, his Canadian touring itinerary and how he misses his wife and two baby girls in Arkansas.
• In this interview, Cash is asked if he'd like to have a son one day, and if so, whether he would he call him Johnny Jr. Cash replies by saying that he'd rather give him a name of his own, but in 1970 Cash had a son with his second wife, June Carter. His name? John Jr.

• Cash's parents named him J.R. because they couldn't think of a name. He started using John after enlisting in the Air Force and being told he wasn't allowed to use initials for a name.

• Cash's nickname, The Man In Black, was bestowed on him while he hosted TV's The Johnny Cash Show on ABC from 1969 to 1971. While his guests all wore colourful outfits, Cash dressed in black. He also wrote a song called Man In Black which put his dress code into context: "We're doing mighty fine I do suppose/ In our streak of lightning cars and fancy clothes/ But just so we're reminded of the ones who are held back/ Up front there ought to be a man in black."
Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Mar. 2, 1959
Hosts: Bill McNeil, Maria Barrett
Guest: Johnny Cash
Duration: 4:44

Last updated: October 4, 2013

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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