Johnny Cash (February 26, 1932 - September 12, 2003) was a vastly influential American country music and rock music singer, guitarist and songwriter.
Cash was known for his deep, distinctive voice, the boom-chick-a-boom or "freight train" sound of his Tennessee Three backing band, and his dark clothing and demeanor, which earned him the nickname "The Man in Black." He started all his concerts with the simple 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. Hits include "I Walk the Line", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Ring of Fire", "Man In Black" and a cover of the Nine Inch Nails song, "Hurt". He also recorded several humorous songs, such as "Cocaine Blues", "One Piece At A Time", "The One on the Right is on the Left" and "A Boy Named Sue"; bouncy numbers such as "Get Rhythm"; and various train-related songs, such as "The Rock Island Line".
In a career that spanned almost five decades, Cash was the personification of country music to many people around the world, despite his distaste for the Nashville mainstream. Yet, like Ray Charles, The Beatles, Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley, Cash was a musician who transcended genre. He recorded songs that could be considered rock and roll, blues, rockabilly, folk and gospel, and exerted an influence on each of those genres. Moreover, he had the unique distinction among country artists of having "crossed over" late in his career to become popular with an unexpected demographic, young indie and alternative rock fans. His diversity was evidenced by his presence in three major music halls of fame: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Only ten performers are in both of the first two, and only Hank Williams Sr. and Jimmie Rodgers share the honor with Cash of being in all three. His pioneering contribution to the genre has also been recognized by the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.