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The Legend of Johnny Cash

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Audio CD, October 25, 2005
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Johnny Cash's death at age 71 on September 12, 2003, nearly four months after the passing of his beloved wife and musical partner June Carter Cash, closed a career spanning nearly an even half a century. It launched a worldwide groundswell of grief and media attention comparable to that for a deceased head of state. Cash was far more than one of country music's greatest stars. While his lonesome baritone defied fad or fashion, his charismatic presence and flinty integrity made him an American cultural icon, a regular presence on TV, radio and in dramatic films, admired by the Greatest Generation through Gen-X and beyond. This Fall, 20th Century Fox will be releasing a film on November 18, 2005 based on the first 30 years of Johnny Cash's life. The film features several of the songs that appear on The Legend Of Johnny Cash including 'Cry! Cry! Cry!', 'Hey Porter', 'Folsom Prison Blues', 'I Walk The Line', 'Get Rhythm', 'Ring Of Fire' and his duet with June Carter 'Jackson'. Hip-O. 2005.

This introduction to the Man in Black's catalog is about as fine a one as can be found on one disc, primarily because the 21 classic tracks span J.R. Cash's entire career, from his first rockabilly single, "Hey, Porter"/"Cry! Cry! Cry!" (Sun Records, 1955), to his last significant alt-country tracks (American Recordings, 2003). Though Cash had his peaks and valleys in the studio, what shines brightly on this collection is how constant--how unwavering--his creativity remained, whether he was writing and performing original material or interpreting the work of others. His voice, too, remained a majestic thing of wonder, even as Cash often sang off-beat; settled his bass-baritone somewhere around, if not on the note; and cared more about power and emotion than strict rules of measure--something that became especially important as illness changed his great oaken voice into a frail instrument. In this way, he was able to infuse novelty songs ("One Piece at a Time," "A Boy Named Sue") with undeniable cool and maintain the poetry of Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down" even in the awful advent of a gloppy, too-peppy string section. Other chestnuts here take on new dimension in retrospect. "Jackson," a duet with wife June Carter Cash, seemed almost comedic ("hotter than a pepper sprout") when it was released, but now reveals the couple's own white-hot sexuality, primarily in June's elegant, if straightahead vocal. The surprise of The Legend of Johnny Cash is how seamlessly the newer material blends with the seminal, and how full-circle it sometimes comes: Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" doesn't seem markedly different from the quietly defiant songs that Cash defined himself with in the '50s and early '60s. Yet the compilation producers, like Cash himself, saved the best for last. "Hurt," Trent Reznor's poignant meditation on addiction, is devastating as written, but becomes a thing of terrible beauty in the ailing Cash's ravaged, autobiographical delivery. Sequenced as the final cut on the album, it ends with a kind of shocking void; stunning in its intensity, dropping the listener off a cliff of something very akin to grief. No artist, no matter what genre, could have planned a more haunting exit. --Alanna Nash

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Cry! Cry! Cry!Johnny Cash 2:24Album Only
listen  2. Hey PorterJohnny Cash 2:13Album Only
listen  3. Folsom Prison BluesJohnny Cash 2:50Album Only
listen  4. I Walk The Line (Single Version)Johnny Cash 2:44Album Only
listen  5. Get RhythmJohnny Cash 2:13Album Only
listen  6. Big RiverJohnny Cash 2:31Album Only
listen  7. Guess Things Happen That Way (1958 Single Version)Johnny Cash 1:50Album Only
listen  8. Ring Of Fire (Album Version)Johnny Cash 2:36Album Only
listen  9. JacksonJohnny Cash & June Carter 2:46Album Only
listen10. A Boy Named SueJohnny Cash 3:46Album Only
listen11. Sunday Morning Coming DownJohnny Cash 4:07Album Only
listen12. Man In Black (Single Version)Johnny Cash 2:52Album Only
listen13. One Piece At A TimeJohnny Cash 4:01Album Only
listen14. Highwayman (Album Version)Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson 3:03Album Only
listen15. The Wanderer [feat. Johnny Cash]The Edge and U2 4:44$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen16. Delia's Gone (Album Version)Johnny Cash 2:19$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen17. Rusty Cage (Album Version)Johnny Cash 2:49$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen18. I've Been Everywhere (Album Version)Johnny Cash 3:17$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen19. Give My Love To Rose (Album Version)Johnny Cash 3:28$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen20. The Man Comes Around (Early Take)Johnny Cash 3:49$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen21. Hurt (Album Version)Johnny Cash 3:39$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 2005)
  • Original Release Date: 2005
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hip-O Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (397 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Johnny Cash Store


Image of album by Johnny Cash


Image of Johnny Cash


Emmy Lou Harris


Beginning his career as an outlaw to the Nashville establishment, Johnny Cash has come to define country music over the last 40 years. At first, his unique mix of hillbilly music with gospel and blues made him a perfect fit at Sam Phillips' Sun records, where he recorded such classics as "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Walk The Line." From there, Johnny signed with ... Read more in Amazon's Johnny Cash Store

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Customer Reviews

This has to be one of the best CD's I own.
I highly recommend this greatest hits collection for old and new Johnny Cash fans!
I love this cd so much that this is the second copy I have bought of it.
Danielle Cannon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Louie Bourland on October 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
The recently released "Legend of Johnny Cash" compilation is the first single-disc collection to cover the legendary Man In Black's entire career. While it would take literally a half-dozen CDs or more to cover every important piece of music Cash has made, this compilation offers the basics and is an excellent overview of his most important and classic work. The legendary Sun records hits, "Cry Cry Cry", "Hey Porter", "I Walk The Line" and "Folsum Prison Blues" are included here as well as "A Boy Named Sue", "Ring Of Fire" and "Highwayman" (his collaboration with Country legends Kris Kristoferson, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson). Also included is Johnny's cameo appearance from U2's 1993 "Zooropa" album, "The Wanderer" and to close out the disc, there are several tracks from his American Records series with producer Rick Rubin including the final hit "Hurt" (originally by Nine Inch Nails).

With that said, "the Legend of Johnny Cash" is an essential collection and offers an excellent brief history lesson of his most acclaimed work. For the few who have never heard of Johnny Cash, this CD is an excllent introduction to his music. For everyone else, this is probably the best collection of Cash music to date.
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Evil Lincoln on March 15, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I own some of Johnny Cash's older albums as well as the spectacular 2-CD The Essential Johnny Cash. But since I didn't have any of his American recordings he did with Rick Rubin, I got The Legend of Johnny Cash for the six songs representing those albums. It's rather obvious that this collection was aimed at young people who have heard and liked Cash's music but wouldn't otherwise be caught dead in the record store's country music section (and who am I kidding; that includes me).

In that sense, it's a good CD. It includes the biggest of Cash's big hits: "Cry, Cry, Cry," "I Walk the Line," "Ring of Fire," "Hurt," etc. But as a definitive greatest-hits collection, The Legend of Johnny Cash falls well short. "I Still Miss Someone," "The Ballad of Ira Hayes," "The Rebel- Johnny Yuma," "The One on the Right is on the Left," and (probably most bafflingly) "Daddy Sang Bass" are all absent from here. What's more, "Folsom Prison Blues" is the *studio* version- anyone at all can tell you that the definitive version is the live version recorded at Folsom Prison itself. This CD is only an hour long- that leaves plenty of time for more deserving cuts. The six American Recordings songs collected here are all great, and I think I'm going to spring for the albums themselves. "The Wanderer," featuring U2, also made it on here; I think that's one of Cash's best ever.

If you want a single-disc Johnny Cash collection, you could do worse. But I still think that The Essential Johnny Cash is a better bet. Even though there's no American Recordings material on there, it still includes every other song this collection does, plus many, many more great songs.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. karvis on December 30, 2005
Format: Audio CD
I have never been a big fan of country music. My main music of choice is of the heavy metal genre such as Black Sabbath and Judas Priest, and newer groups like nine inch nails, and the harder edged industrial stuff. I always thought Johnny Cash was kind of cool, but until today I never really listened closely to his music. I recently became curious about the CD, and was happy to get it as a Xmas gift. I went for a ride on this cold, cloudy day in late December, and it could not be a better day to introduce myself to the man in black's music. All I can say is this Cd, of what are his classic songs, is just brilliant, and timeless - a very enjoyable listen. The CD is a real gem, and I would suggest anyone who is even the least bit curious about Cash to go out and get this. To me, it's a work of art that deserves a spot on my shelf right alongside the other CDs from varoius genres that I consider essential classics.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bryan E. Leed on April 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This CD is a great compilation of many of Johnny Cash's biggest songs, from 1955-2003, spanning virtually his entire career, and since this came out recently, I presume that it probably is technically more refined than CD collections released years or decades earlier.

The only thing that I see missing is that there are no Gospel songs, though Johnny recorded and released Gospel songs and albums. I would recommend buying GOSPEL GLORY to fill in a good chunk of his Gospel works, affordably priced.

THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY CASH comes with a nice, b/w CD booklet, with many photos and some text which talks about his career. I found this all to be very interesting.

The CD cover, under the CD, shows a big photo of Johnny flipping his middle finger at the photographer, so be careful. This was actually taken and used for his 1969 live album, JOHNNY CASH AT SAN QUENTIN (which I also recommend highly). Apparently, Johnny was having trouble with the BBC TV crew filming the concert, getting between him and the audience seeing each other, so he got mad, and this photo was taken.

This has many of his most famous songs, so it is great to have if this is someone's first Johnny Cash CD. You will get "Folsom Prison Blues," "I Walk the Line," "Ring of Fire," "A Boy Named Sue," "One Piece at a Time," and many other good, but less famous songs.

I can also recommend that you pick up the affordably priced JOHNNY CASH READS THE COMPLETE NEW TESTAMENT, a 16 CD set for around $30. This is very fun to listen to Johnny's great spoken word project.

If you liked the WALK THE LINE movie, then the CD of JOHNNY CASH AT FOLSOM PRISON is a great live album that was part of the film, and the movie's soundtrack is also a very good tribute to Johnny's songs, and some of the performances rival the original Johnny Cash versions of some the lesser known songs.
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