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Happy Birthday Johnny Cash: 25 Songs by the Man In Black
February 26, 2012
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Today would have been the Man in Black's 80th birthday. Although he's passed on, Johnny Cash remains one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and beyond. In honour of the outlaw icon, we've created a playlist that tells Johnny Cash's story through his words and his music.

Johnny Cash by George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight on Grooveshark

Listening to Cash's extensive catalogue offers a vivid picture of his whole career, starting with his early years recording at Sun Records as the lead singer of the Tennessee Three. Cash's distinct sound was forged here with songs like 'Cry! Cry! Cry!', 'I Walk The Line' and 'Big River'.

Cash played many roles in his long career: he hosted his own television show, produced numerous gospel albums, and formed The Highwaymen, a country supergroup, with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson in the mid-eighties.

His recording career and his relationship with his peers in Nashville were at an all-time low by the late eighties, however. He referred to himself in his autobiography as "invisible" during this period. But when the 1990s arrived, Cash came back to prominence through collaborations with U2, Joe Strummer and Rick Rubin's 'American Recordings' label. With Rubin, a new audience discovered Cash through his covers of artists like Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden and Depeche Mode.

Following the diagnosis of a neurodegenerative disease in 1997, Cash stopped touring, but he continued writing up until the final song he penned, 'Like the 309'.

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