Thursday, February 26, 2015

Johnny Cash Came to Town


The Man in Black was born on this day in 1932.  One of America's pioneering musical icons, he was deeply committed to social justice, and was a strong supporter and friend of Israel.
In the mid-1990s, when Israeli cities, and particularly Jerusalem, were attacked by Palestinian suicide bombers, tourism to Israel fell off sharply. The Cashes, now in their sixties, returned to Israel for a fifth visit, and with their own money produced a TV film titled Return to the Holy Land. Throughout the film -- a musical travelog through pastoral, bucolic sites associated with the life of Jesus -- the Cashes assured their American viewers that Israel was as beautiful and tranquil as ever, and they should not hesitate to visit it soon. There is no mention in the film of the conflict with the Palestinians, nor of any internal debates or dissension within Israel. Despite the changes in Israel, and in world attitudes toward the Jewish state, Johnny and June Carter Cash’s zeal for Zion remained intact.
Often described as a founding father of modern Christian Zionism, his solid liberal credentials, such as his activism on behalf of prison reform and as an advocate for Native American rights, do not necessarily mesh well with the picture many anti-Israel types would like to paint of his kind.

A deeply patriotic American, this is my favorite quote of his -
"I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine." - From Ragged Old Flag on The Great Lost Performance, recorded at the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ, 1990
A fantastic philosophy to live by.  He would have been 83 today.  He had his struggles and failures like anyone, but I'd say on balance he left the world a better place than he found it.


  1. Peace to you, my brother.

    Laurie has been listening to Johnny Cash in recuperation.

    But this song above is the saddest song ever.

    1. And probably the most powerful music video of all time? June died three months later, and Johnny followed her four months after that. The scene where he can barely keep his hands steady enough to evenly spill the wine? Man...

    2. See we can agree on something else.

      I discovered Johnny Cash late in life - he was great.

      Funny, but I posted this song on my FB page a few weeks ago. Great, Great version of a great, great song.

    3. Poor Trent, heh. The original Nine Inch Nails version came out when I was in high school, and it was an immediate favorite of mine. Johnny made this song his own like nobody ever has done, or probably ever will do again, though.

      Incidentally, when the original NIN came, was just about the time I got into Johnny Cash, via Mike Ness of Social Distortion, who was a favorite artist of mine, and who covered a lot of early Cash.