Johnny Cash Remembers Elvis Presley | Elvis Articles
Who is Johnny Cash I asked Elvis Presley, and I grabbed the guitar away from him. Mother Maybelle would never let me or Elvis go on the. “I first heard of [Johnny Cash] through Elvis Presley. Elvis would make me go into these little cafés and listen to John [on the jukebox] when we played in the. To Elvis fans Johnny Cash was the fourth member of the now famous Million Dollar Quartet Before Walk The Line Johnny Cash was famous for his bass vocals.
With just one single to his credit, he sang those two songs over and over. That's the first time I met him. Vivian and I went up to him after the show, and he invited us to his next date at the Eagle's Nest, a club promoted by Sleepy-Eyed John, the disc jockey who'd taken his name from the Merle Travis song and was just as important as Dewey Phillips in getting Sun music out to the world. I remember Elvis' show at the Eagle's Nest as if were yesterday.
The date was a blunder, because the place was an adult club where teenagers weren't welcome, and so Vivian and I were two of only a dozen or so patrons, fifteen at the most. All the same, I thought Elvis was great. He didn't have to, of course; his charisma alone kept everyone's attention. The thing I really noticed that night, though, was his guitar playing. Elvis was a fabulous rhythm player. He'd start into That's All Right, Mama with his own guitar alone, and you didn't want to hear anything else.
I was disappointed when Scotty Moore and Bill Black jumped in and covered him up. Not that Scotty and Bill weren't perfect for him - the way he sounded with them that night was what I think of as seminal Presley, the sound I missed through all the years after he became so popular and made records full of orchestration and overproduction. I loved that clean, simple combination of Scotty, Bill, and Elvis with his acoustic guitar.
You know, I've never heard or read anyone else praising Elvis as a rhythm guitar player, and after the Sun days I never heard his own guitar on his records. That night at the Eagle's Nest, I remember, he was playing a Martin and he was dressed in the latest teen fashion.
If he hadn't, it wasn't long before he did. I was in there myself two or three times in '55 and ' Elvis and I talked about music, but I never spoke to him about Sun Records or any other connection into the music business. I wanted to make it on my own devices, and that's how I set about doing it.
Elvis certainly took a lot of abuse from that crowd. He had his problems with gossip, too, and rumor and lies. He was very sensitive, easily hurt by the stories people told about him being on dope and so on.
I myself couldn't understand why people wanted to say that back in the '50s, because in those days he was the last person on earth who needed dope. He had such a high energy level that it seemed he never stopped - though maybe that's why they said he was on dope.
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Either way, he wasn't, or at least I never saw any evidence of it. I never saw him use any kind of drug, or even alcohol; he was always clear-headed around me, and very pleasant. Elvis was such a nice guy, and so talented and charismatic - he had it all - that some people just couldn't handle it and reacted with jealousy. It's only human, I suppose, but it's sad. He and I liked each other, but we weren't that tight - I was older than he was, for one thing, and married, for another - and we weren't close at all in his later years.
I took the hint when he closed his world around him; I didn't try to invade his privacy. I'm so glad I didn't, either, because so many of his old friends were embarrassed so badly when they were turned away at Graceland.
In the '60s and '70s he and I chatted on the phone a couple of times and swapped notes now and again. If he were closing at the Las Vegas Hilton as I was getting ready to open, he'd wish me luck, that kind of thing - but that was about the extent of it.
I've heard it said that here at the end of the century, we all have our own Elvis, and I can appreciate that idea, even though my Elvis was my friend, flesh and blood in real life. Certainly, though, my Elvis was the Elvis of the '50s.
He was a kid when I worked with him. He was nineteen years old, and he loved cheeseburgers, girls, and his mother, not necessarily in that order it was more like his mother, then girls, then cheeseburgers. Both live albums reached number one on Billboard country album music and the latter crossed over to reach the top of the Billboard pop album chart.
InCash became an international hit when he eclipsed even the Beatles by selling 6. The AM versions of the latter contained profanities which were edited out of the aired version. The modern CD versions are unedited, thus making them longer than the original vinyl albums, though they retain the audience-reaction overdubs of the originals.
In '57, I wrote a song called 'Old Apache Squaw' and then forgot the so-called Indian protest for a while, but nobody else seemed to speak up with any volume of voice. Ballads of the American Indian. The film's DVD released August 21, Cash wrote three of the songs himself and one with the help of Johnny Hortonbut the majority of the protest songs were written by folk artist Peter La Farge  son of activist and Pulitzer prizewinner Oliver La Fargewhom Cash met in New York in the s and whom he admired for his activism.
So is Rochester, Harlem, Birmingham and Vietnam. He performed benefits in at the Rosebud Reservation, close to the historical landmark of the massacre at Wounded Kneeto raise money to help build a school.
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He also played at the D-Q University in the s. Many non-Native Americans stayed away from singing about these things. Burnett's 80th-birthday essay  on Cherokee removal for the Historical Landmarks Association Nashville.
The Statler Brothers opened up for him in every episode; the Carter Family and rockabilly legend Carl Perkins were also part of the regular show entourage. Pollardand Lauren Hutton. Cash was enthusiastic about reintroducing the reclusive Dylan to his audience.
Cash sang a duet with Dylan on Dylan's country album Nashville Skyline and also wrote the album's Grammy -winning liner notes. Another artist who received a major career boost from The Johnny Cash Show was Kris Kristoffersonwho was beginning to make a name for himself as a singer-songwriter. During a live performance of Kristofferson's " Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down ", Cash refused to change the lyrics to suit network executives, singing the song with its references to marijuana intact: On a Sunday morning sidewalk I'm wishin', Lord, that I was stoned.
He regularly performed dressed all in black, wearing a long, black, knee-length coat. This outfit stood in contrast to the costumes worn by most of the major country acts in his day - rhinestone suits and cowboy boots.
InCash wrote the song " Man in Black " to help explain his dress code: 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. Cash performing in BremenWest Germany, in September He wore 'black' on behalf of the poor and hungryon behalf of "the prisoner who has long paid for his crime," and on behalf of those who have been betrayed by age or drugs. Apart from the Vietnam War being over, I don't see much reason to change my position The old are still neglected, the poor are still poor, the young are still dying before their time, and we're not making many moves to make things right.
There's still plenty of darkness to carry off. He wore other colors on stage early in his career, but he claimed to like wearing black both on and off stage. He stated that political reasons aside, he simply liked black as his on-stage color. He made commercials for Amoco and STPan unpopular enterprise at the time of the s energy crisis. Inhe made commercials for Lionel Trainsfor which he also wrote the music. The Autobiography, appeared in It was released in Cash viewed the film as a statement of his personal faith rather than a means of proselytizing.
He continued to appear on television, hosting Christmas specials on CBS in the late s and early s.Andy Kaufman Does Elvis Presley
Later television appearances included a starring role in an episode of Columboentitled "Swan Song". Johnny and June also appeared in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman in recurring roles. He was closest to Jimmy Carterwith whom he became close friends and who was a distant cousin of his wife, June. Cash wrote that the reasons for denying Nixon's song choices were not knowing them and having fairly short notice to rehearse them, rather than any political reason.
During that period, Cash appeared in a number of television films. Inhe starred in The Pride of Jesse Hallamwinning fine reviews for a film that called attention to adult illiteracy. In the same year, Cash appeared as a "very special guest star" in an episode of the Muppet Show. Inhe appeared as a heroic sheriff in Murder in Coweta Countybased on a real-life Georgia murder case, which co-starred Andy Griffith as his nemesis and featured June Carter in a small but important role.
Cash had tried for years to make the film, for which he won acclaim. Cash relapsed into addiction after being administered painkillers for a serious abdominal injury in caused by an unusual incident in which he was kicked and wounded by an ostrich he kept on his farm.
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Doctors recommended preventive heart surgery, and Cash underwent double bypass surgery in the same hospital. Both recovered, although Cash refused to use any prescription painkillers, fearing a relapse into dependency.
Cash later claimed that during his operation, he had what is called a " near-death experience ". Cash's recording career and his general relationship with the Nashville establishment were at an all-time low in the s. He realized that his record label of nearly 30 years, Columbia, was growing indifferent to him and was not properly marketing him he was "invisible" during that time, as he said in his autobiography.
InCash released a self-parody recording titled "Chicken in Black" about Cash's brain being transplanted into a chicken and Cash receiving a bank robber's brain in return.
Biographer Robert Hilburn, in the published Johnny Cash: The Life, disputes the claim made that Cash chose to record an intentionally poor song in protest of Columbia's treatment of him.
On the contrary, Hilburn writes, it was Columbia that presented Cash with the song, which Cash — who had previously scored major chart hits with comedic material such as "A Boy Named Sue" and "One Piece at a Time" — accepted enthusiastically, performing the song live on stage and filming a comedic music video in which he dresses up in a superhero-like bank-robber costume.
According to Hilburn, Cash's enthusiasm for the song waned after Waylon Jennings told Cash he looked "like a buffoon" in the music video which was showcased during Cash's Christmas TV specialand Cash subsequently demanded that Columbia withdraw the music video from broadcast and recall the single from stores—interrupting its bona fide chart success—and termed the venture "a fiasco.
I was afraid to look him in the eyes. It was one of the things I did best. I never stammered and still found myself not able to say much of anything. I think I finally blurted out - I feel like I know you already. Elvis plays you on the jukebox all the time and he can't tune his guitar without humming 'Cry, Cry, Cry' Now he's got me doing it.
Hey, bring me one of your records. I've become a real fan. I can't remember anything else we talked about, except his eyes.
Those black eyes that shone like agates. I only glanced into them because I believed that I would be drawn into his soul and I would never have been able to walk away, had he asked me to go with him.
I felt that he was the most handsome man I'd ever met. I saw him take six encores that night.
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He had a command of his performance that I had never seen before. Just a guitar and a base and a gentle kind of presence that made not only me, but whole audiences become his followers. I walked away from him that evening. Both of us afraid to look, and both afraid to see the lost and lonely souls that we were.
For the next few years, I never saw him where I did not remember when, where and who he was with.