Sunday, August 14, 2005


What Would Johnny Do?

"I did not vote for Mr. Bush, let's leave it at that." –Johnny Cash

Time for a tribute to a man's man, a man's man in black, Mr. Johnny Cash with a series of interesting trivia tidbits compiled from da net.

After years of berserk drug-guzzling, Johnny Cash cleaned up his act, only to be unseated from 'the wagon' by a bizarre series of events in the early 1980s. Johnny Cash was attacked on his game farm by a belligerent ostrich named Waldo. The incident resulted in the hospitalization of Cash with five broken ribs [and a gash in his stomach nearly disemboweling the Man in Black]. He was put onto pain killers to survive the critical injuries and quickly became an addict again. While recovering, Cash stole cards of Valium and stashed them under his bandages, where they leaked directly into his wounds. Hospital staff were at a loss to explain the singer's comatose appearance until he came to long enough to point to his bandages and avert a near-fatal overdose. He checked himself into the Betty Ford Clinic, successfully quit pain killers, and made friends with Ozzy Osbourne while at the Clinic.

Cash and "American Recordings" posted a thank you to the Nashville country music industry in Billboard Magazine after winning the Grammy for best country record for "Unchained" in the form of the infamous photo of Johnny angrily giving the middle finger to the camera taken back in 1969 during his San Quentin prison performance. Cash did this because he was enraged by Nashville having pretty much left behind him and other aging "country" artists who had defined the genre to make room for the more pop-oriented new country artists, like Garth Brooks.

Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, and Johnny are the only 3 musicians to have been inducted both to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Cash's career was at an all-time low in the 1980s and he realized his record label of nearly 30 years, Columbia, was growing to indifferent to Cash and marketing him, and to kill the relationship with the label before they did, Cash recorded "Chicken in Black." An intentionally awful song about Johnny's brain being transplanted to a chicken, it ironically turned out to be a larger commercial success than any of his other recent material. However, it wasn't long after "Chicken in Black" that Columbia and Cash parted ways.

One day in 1963, Johnny Cash visited a national wildlife refuge in California. Cash enjoyed himself thoroughly, until, he later claimed, some oil from his camper ignited the surrounding grass. The resulting fire destroyed 500 acres of parkland. In court, Cash was asked whether he himself had started the blaze. "No," he replied. "My truck did, and it's dead now so you can't question it." Cash was subsequently fined $125,000.

In his song "Man in Black" he explained that he wore predominately black clothing to honor and remind others of the suffering of the world's poor and oppressed.

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