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Johnny Cash - Unchained
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Johnny Cash in 1969

Johnny Cash (born J. R. Cash; February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter and one of the most influential musicians of all time. Primarily a country music artist, his songs and sound spanned many other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll (especially early in his career), as well as blues, folk and gospel.

Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice, the "chicka-boom" freight train sound of his Tennessee Three backing band, his demeanor, and his dark clothing, which earned him the nickname "The Man in Black". He traditionally started his concerts with the introduction "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash".

Much of Cash's music, especially that of his later career, echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption. His signature songs include "I Walk the Line", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Ring of Fire", "Get Rhythm" and "Man in Black". He also recorded humorous songs, such as "One Piece at a Time" and "A Boy Named Sue", a duet with June Carter called "Jackson", as well as railroad songs such as "Hey Porter" and "Rock Island Line."

Johnny Cash - Unchained
Unchained
Released: November 5, 1996
Recorded: 1995,1996

The first four songs on Unchained come from the songbooks of Beck, Don Gibson, Soundgarden, and Jimmie Rodgers. What might look like absurdly unsupportable eclecticism in other artists, of course, is pretty much standard stuff for Cash. Unchained is hardly standard, though; it's more like the best album he's made since his 1984 departure from Columbia Records. Not only is this a stack of songs perfectly and idiosyncratically suited to the man, they're given door-rattling backing treatment by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who prove as fitting for Cash's music as his own Tennessee Two was back in the day. --Rickey Wright

Unchained is the second album in Johnny Cash's American Recording series. On the album, Cash is backed by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Like all Cash's albums for American, it is produced by Rick Rubin. Unchained focuses more on covers and less on original material than the first album in the series.

In addition to three of Cash's own compositions, Unchained contained songs by Soundgarden ("Rusty Cage") and Beck ("Rowboat"), as well as a guest appearance from Flea, bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, on "Spiritual" and Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Mac, on "Sea of Heartbreak". The album also included a cover of the classic 1962 Hank Snow song, "I've Been Everywhere", written by Geoff Mack.

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Despite being virtually ignored by country music radio and the Nashville establishment, Unchained received a Grammy for Best Country Album. Cash and American Recordings posted a "thank you" to the Nashville country music industry in Billboard Magazine after winning the award in the form of the infamous photo of Cash giving the middle finger to the camera taken back in 1969 during his San Quentin prison performance. Cash allegedly chose the picture to illustrate his frustration with Nashville's simultaneous embrace of pop-oriented, new country artists like Garth Brooks and their abandonment of him and the other aging "country" artists who had defined the genre. ~(wiki)

I feel it is just neat that Uchained by Johnny Cash, with the backing of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, did a cover of Beck Hansen's tune Rowboat, from Beck's independent album, Stereopathetic Soulmanure. Where Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on their album Songs and Music from "She's the One", did a cover of Beck's "Asshole" from his second independant album, One Foot in the Grave. Songs and Music from "She's the One" was a soundtrack done by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and had a lead song and hit, "Walls (Circus)", which featured Lindsey Buckingham on the track. Lindsey Buckingham appeared on Johnny Cash's "Sea of Heartbreak" from Cash's album Unchained. ~(Tim Benjamin)

Johnny Cash - General Best Videos
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (songwriter of Hurt) in a 2005 interview for Rolling Stone about seeing Johnny Cash’s video cover for the first time: “I saw the video and it took my breath away. Immediately my throat had a lump in it, and at that point, it really struck home. It was heartbreaking. I had goosebumps, which I have right now even thinking about it. It became really inspiring to me.… It works. And it probably works better than my version.… I haven’t listened to my version since then.”
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Johnny Cash recorded a version of "God's Gonna Cut You Down" on American V: A Hundred Highways in 2003, with an arrangement quite different from most known gospel versions of the song. The song is presented with a rhythmic stomp-clap downbeat, grim and pessimistic in its portrayal of a vengeful and uncompromising God, serving as a warning to sinners.

A music video, directed by Tony Kaye,[1] was made for this version in late 2006. It featured a number of celebrities, including Iggy Pop, Kanye West, Chris Martin, Kris Kristofferson, Patti Smith, Terrence Howard, Flea, Q-Tip, Adam Levine, Chris Rock, Justin Timberlake, Kate Moss, Sir Peter Blake, Sheryl Crow, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Amy Lee, Scott Weiland, the Dixie Chicks, Mick Jones, Sharon Stone, Bono, Shelby Lynne, Anthony Kiedis, Travis Barker, Lisa Marie Presley, Kid Rock, Jay-Z, Keith Richards, Billy Gibbons, Corinne Bailey Rae, Johnny Depp, Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Rick Rubin, Whoopi Goldberg, Owen Wilson and Jerry Lee Lewis. It also briefly features archive footage of Cash himself. The video was shot entirely in black and white. Since its release, both the song and video have seen moderate airplay.

The video won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.

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The Essential Johnny Cash

The Essential Johnny Cash is a double-compact disc compilation by Johnny Cash released as part of Sony BMG's Essential series. It was compiled to commemorate Cash's 70th birthday. It is not to be confused with the three-CD box set of the same name released by Columbia Records in 1992.

The double album concentrates mainly on Cash's first 15 years as a recording artist with Sun Records and Columbia, contains only eight post-1970 selections, and pre-dates Cash's work with Rick Rubin for American Recordings: Cash's final hit single, a cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt", was released ten months later.

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Amongst the 36 tracks on the compilation are two songs that feature Cash prominently but never appeared on any of his albums: "Girl from the North Country" from Bob Dylan's 1969 album Nashville Skyline, and "The Wanderer" from U2's 1993 album Zooropa.

As a testimony to Cash's wide sphere of influence on country, rock, and other modern musics and his wide fan base, the liner notes feature testimonials and 70th birthday greetings from a wide array of artists - not only from friends and fellow travelers and collaborators like Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Petty, ex-stepson-in-law Nick Lowe, and wife June Carter Cash, but from the likes of Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, Corey Taylor and Shawn Crahan of Slipknot, Metallica's Kirk Hammett, and Black Flag's Henry Rollins.~(wiki)

 
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