The Man In Black Is No More

Johnny Cash, country’s "Man in Black" has died at the age of 71.

I’ve never been a country fan, but it seemed like his "Ring of Fire" was played every night at my favorite bar back in college, After a while, it kinda grew on me.

Cash was a fine musician and one of the few larger-than-life characters in recording who wasn’t the result of some artificial marketing campaign. There will be many in Nashville and elsewhere who will be missing this American icon.

6 thoughts on “The Man In Black Is No More

  1. And where is the fricking justice in that? Cash dies at 71, Lindh dies at 46, and Leni-Sieg-Heil-Riefenstahl lives to be a 101.

    I never liked country, either. But Cash was the ONLY man on earth to be able to cover a Depeche Mode song and not only make it great, but also get the approval of hardcore Depeche Mode fans. May he rest in peace.

  2. Johnny Cash was the personification of what made country music head and shoulders above other forms of popular music. Back in his day, it was essentially the “populist” genre in multiple ways…offering average people with average looks and average vocal abilities the chance to speak for those not represented in the thinly-drawn, two-dimensional world of pop music.

    In many ways, Cash’s death effectively marks the end of the era where country music had its own identity. Nowadays, for better or for worse, the Johnny Cashes of the industry have been replaced with the same pretty boys and divas that make most pop music, especially modern pop music, so mind-numbingly bland. Furthermore, today’s country music, particularly in the post 9-11 world, seems to represent the PR wing of the Bush Administration, selling both war and blind patriotism as the attributes determining the worth of Middle Americans who listen to the music. The Johnny Cashes of yesterday sang about the forgotten poor and the non-violent prisoners while the Daryl Worley’s of today question those people’s patriotism.

  3. Mark, I seem to notice, however, that other musicians pick up some of those “old school” country emlements. It seems to me that in some ways, Bruce Springsteen is going country in some of his songs, and you canNOT tell me that Springsteen is either pro-war or pro-Bush or pro-big guys in any sense. (Which makes him so appealing…)


  4. what Mark said still perfectly make sense. Look at the artists invited to support troops in Irak, or for the commemoration of 9/11. Like any authoritarian regime, only the artists going with the gov. are paid and promoted. The others (“dixies chicks” or whatever this dumb group was called) see their records piled up in the street, where people spit, roll over with cars, and finally burn it(I’ve seen a video of several places in the US doing that-even if marginal, the police let it happen) . you should know who does that, and in which conditions.(tip: it happened in the city you live in…Berlin)

  5. See, over here in America we have this little thing called free expression in which the people can do or say anything within the law. If people want to steamroll a bunch of records by a gaggle of vapid bimbos, they can do that if they want.

    No one in the government told them they had do so and they didn’t harm anyone in the process – as opposed to say a massive labor strike that shuts down the vital services like transportation and hospitals for an entire city. (tip: it happened in a city that starts with “P” and ends in “aris”)

  6. Janek, you’re right about Springsteen. He’s the closest modern-day equivalent to Johnny Cash who has commercial success. No doubt, Cash has had tremendous influence on many modern artists, but few who can visibly display that influence within the confines of corporate music and its incredible-shrinking playlists. Most modern artists that I know of who produce unusual and three-dimensional characters in their songs the way that Cash did are “alternative country” acts like Steve Earle and Chris Knight, banished to the musical netherworld and avoided like the plague by mainstream radio. If either Johnny Cash or Bruce Springsteen were just coming out today in their respective musical genres, I very much doubt they’d achieve any significant success, as they’d be crushed under the weight of all the cotton candy.

    Jay, it’s ironic that you suggest that Europe is on the verge of creating another Hitler through its dovish stance on an ill-conceived war in Iraq….yet you defend a bunch of American rednecks staging the destruction of the artwork of people who disagree with them as “freedom of speech.” As big of an idiot as Dennis Miller is politically, he has said one thing that made sense in the past couple years. “We’re so quick to call people Hitler that when the next real Hitler comes, he’ll slip under our noses.” By lending legitimacy to your Texas neanderthal brethrens’ infantile destruction of property in attempt to mute dissent, Miller’s prediction seems to apply to you perfectly.

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