Adeli’s Music Blog

The Man in Black

Posted in music by adeli on November 8, 2007

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime, for the sick and lonely old.

I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could have been, for the thousands who have died believin’ that the Lord was on their side. I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died believin’ that we all were on their side.

Well, there’s things that never will be right I know, and things need changin’ everywhere you go. But ’til we start to make a move to make a few things right, you’ll never see me wear a suit of white.

Much of Johnny Cash’s music, like Man in Black quoted above, had a somber tone and echoed themes of sorrow, distress, and redemption. His signature songs include I Walk The Line, Folsom Prison Blues, and Ring of Fire. Some of his more light-hearted tunes include A Boy Named Sue and One Piece at a Time. Many of Cash’s songs had the rhythm of the railroad: Big River, Train of Love, and Orange Blossom Special are among them.

From his early days as a pioneer of rockability and rock and roll, along side Elvis Presley, in the 50s to his decades as a country music star and becoming a legend in his time, Cash has been a constant musical influence throughout the years. He left a body of work matched only by the greatest artists of his time who are still alive today. He sold over fifty million albums and composed over a thousand songs n his fifty-year career.

By the early 1970s, he had set his public image as “The Man in Black.” He regularly performed dressed all in black, wearing a long black knee-length coat. This outfit was a great contrast to the cowboy boots and rhinestones of the major country stars of his day. In 1971, Cash wrote Man in Black to help explain his decision to do so throughout most of his career.

Johnny Cash performances:

A Boy Named Sue

Folsom Prison Blues

Ring of Fire

Jackson (with June Carter Cash)

It Ain’t Me Babe (with June Carter Cash)


  • Any Best Of compilation will be an introduction to those who aren’t familiar with Johnny Cash and include several of the songs mentioned above.
  • The American series has Cash covering more modern tunes: Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt, and Moby’s God’s Gonna Cut you Down are among them.
  • Unearthed, a box set was issued posthumously, and it included four CDs of unreleased material, as well as a Best of Cash on American retrospective CD.

For the celebrity-drenched video, click here God’s Gonna Cut You Down.

To tune in to Johnny Cash Radio, go to

4 Responses

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  1. Kym said, on November 9, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    His mournful ballads have always moved me and when he covered “Hurt” I couldn’t help but cry. His art transcends his genre.

  2. Johnny Cash: The Man in Black said, on January 23, 2008 at 8:17 am

    […] Johnny Cash: The Man in Black The American series has Cash covering more modern tunes: Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus,, Nine Inch Nails‘ Hurt, and Moby’s God’s Gonna Cut you… […]

  3. Norman Ball said, on February 16, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I think genres were invented for store-room clerks and people who are too lazy to understand what they really like. Talents like Johnny Cash roll over categories like a swollen river spills over
    its banks.

    Here’s a Johnny Cash tribute that’s well worth watching.

  4. Anonymous said, on March 9, 2008 at 3:02 am

    free car quote

    Excellent post. Keep it up!

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