"I was listening to Johnny Cash when Nine Inch Nails were just little tacks." -- lonesomenumber1
Me, I grew up listening to Johnny Cash. But it's only in recent years that I've truly realized what a brilliant musician he is.
As a child, the song "Ring of Fire" always scared the shit out of me. It's so vivid, the imagery... I always pictured Johnny falling through those rings while singing, and I remember once asking my mom if you could survive falling into a ring of fire.
Now that I'm older, I really appreciate what that song does: it's the most accurate song I know about the experience of falling in love. All these nice pretty happy songs about falling in love? BULL. SHIT. Falling in love isn't fun. More often than not, it hurts like hell. And that song gets right to the truth of it.
I didn't realize until she died recently that Johnny didn't write the song; June Carter Cash did. And I guess that's the thing that keeps me from giving up on the whole concept of love; she wrote this song full of pain and anguish about him, yet they stuck it out till she died in his arms decades later, which as far as I can tell is as close to a happy ending as any of us will see in this world.
Then scarcrest went and poked a hole in my theory by pointing out that Johnny Cash is the one documented case of a bad boy reformed by the love of a good woman. Please beat him with a stick the next time you see him.
And I know I'm not the only one who thinks Johnny's version of "Hurt" blows the original (good though it is) out of the water. That song has now become the soundtrack to the depressing moments of my life... And if you haven't seen the video, you should. Oh, and IMHO that's not even the best song on his latest CD. That honor should go to his take on the Book of Revelations, "The Man Comes Around."
All of this is just my way of saying that I hope Johnny cleans up tonight at the VMAs, and I hope he's feeling well enough to show all those whippersnappers and one-trick-ponies how it's done.