Charles Shaar Murray

Man in Black

Johnny Cash: The Life


Weidenfeld & Nicolson 679pp £20 order from our bookshop

If the Grand Canyon could sing, it would sound like Johnny Cash. And if Monument Valley had walked on two legs and, moreover, taken to dressing itself in head-to-toe black, it would probably look like him too. At the peak of his career, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was one of the greatest unifying forces in American cultural life, cherished by rednecks and hippies alike; equally beloved at the Grand Ole Opry or the Newport Folk Festival; at a maximum-security prison or the Nixon White House; at a Billy Graham Crusade rally or a Bob Dylan recording session. His work straddled country music, rock (both ancient and modern), folk and mainstream pop.

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