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I Was There When It Happened: My Life with Johnny Cash Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 31, 2006

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, August 31, 2006
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing (August 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581825102
  • ASIN: B0032Z6YZA
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.8 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,009,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When coworker Roy Cash introduced his fresh-out-of-the-air-force younger brother J. R. (John, then Johnny, came later) to him, Grant says, "a funny feeling--a kind of tingling--come [sic] over me." For the next 50 years, Roy's brother would loom over Grant's life, as he would over country music, like a colossus. Grant played bass in Cash's road bands until 1980. He was also Cash's road manager, making housing and travel arrangements and getting Cash to the gigs. That became a Herculean task as Cash's entourage, and his amphetamine and barbiturate addictions, begun as early as 1957, grew. Grant figures that Cash was entirely off pills for only the six years following his son John Carter Cash's birth in 1970. Cash finally fired Grant amid baseless allegations of embezzlement. A long lawsuit ensued, but the men reconciled shortly before Cash's death. Throughout this immaculately edited mounting of his oral testimony (kudos and then some to Zar), Grant maintains that, sober, Cash was utterly lovable. The man he primarily presents, in a voice that couldn't be more congenial and disingenuous, is, however, a monster of self-destruction. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"Endorsed by Johnny Cash's daughter, Rosanne, his brother, Tommy, and featuring a foreword by The Statler Brothers, who credit him with launching their career, this biography by longtime band member Marshall Grant takes its title from a gospel tune Cash recorded in 1957. As one of Cash's original bandmates and thereafter a member of his inner circle until his death in 2003, Grant recounts the career of the legendary Man in Black--including the devastating spiral of drug abuse that Grant says ultimately destroyed him--with fly-on-the-wall, warts-and-all detail...and the unique, unvarnished perspective of one of the few people still living who really was there when it happened." --Neil Pond, American Profile Magazine, July 2007

This was a book that was an enjoyable, if at times sad, read... -- The Man in Black Fanzine, Fall 2006

Customer Reviews

Very sad story.
Billie Holliday
Until Marshall Grant's book what we knew about Johnny Cash was mostly legend.
Autobiographies are, by their very nature, usually, self-serving.
Bruce P. Cogburn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Karen Santucci on October 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Marshall Grant, despite what others might believe, would know more about J.R. Cash and Johnny Cash than others who have managed to pick the bones of the legendary singer over the last few years. Unlike others who seem to want to make the man greater than his legacy, Marshall Grant opens that dangerous door of letting the reader know exactly what kind of performer Cash was while never ignoring his all too human dark side - which was darker than some might want to hear about. Grant forces readers to face the fact (in a very untabloid-ish manner that grabs your attention and demands your respect) that while Johnny Cash only seemed like someone who redeemed himself to achieve the god-like status he has been cloaked in, he was way more flawed and damaged a person than most people might imagine...He had some very nasty demons who chased him nearly all of his life and who made themselves known in horrible ways - including Cash's unfair firing of Grant in 1980, the unfair rumors of Grant's departure which evolved into a major lawsuit, the enormous amount of money withheld from both Grant and Luther Perkins estate, Cash's questionable financial habits, the fallout from his numerous "no-shows," his demanding nature to act above everything and everyone around him at times, his constant battle of never completely ridding himself of pills again and again, and his many indulgences that were as destructive to the people around him as they were to the singer himself. Grant also balances out his portrait of John Cash by offering many recollections of the many acts of generosity and his uncanny identification with those far less fortunate than him. Above all, Marshall Grant finally gives the late Luther Perkins the enomrous credit so many others might trivialize. If you want to hear the truth from someone who was closer to Cash than anyone except June Carter than Marshall Grant's book (endorsed by Cash's daughter Roseanne) is certainly well worth reading.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Billie Holliday on December 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What a neat book. I loved all the humorous pranks that those wandering troubadors did to amuse themselves on the road. Priceless stories. The book is loaded with information. It's all here, both good and bad. I couldn't put it down. Sat up until 4:30am reading the sucker. But I must say, the last 50 pages or so, I couldn't stop crying. Tears streamed down my face with every line. I cried like a baby. I deeply felt the pain that both Marshall and John went through, and this book really stirred my soul. Marshall's stories are all so touching. I loved the ones about John pulling that little cannon through the hotel lobby; setting up and tearing down that makeshift bedroom in the elevator lobby just to confuse the bellboy; and one of the funniest stories I have ever heard in my life -- John's hijacking of an army tank for a midnight joyride on a military base in Korea (or was it Germany?), and poking its long gun barrel through barrack windows. The photos are great, and from Marshall's own scrapbook. Too bad he didn't include one of that little cannon, as I would love to see what it looked like. The darker stories were also well told: Glen Shirley, the hardened criminal that John worked diligently to have released from Folsom Prison. But Shirley was just that: a hardened criminal, and John eventually learned that the hard way. Very sad story. Marshall tells it like it was -- everything about Cash -- his countless givings of generosity to everybody he could help (even strangers, people he didn't know). And he also gives a grisly insight into John's dark side -- things that are disturbing to any Johnny Cash fan -- trashing of hotel rooms (and even Marshall's house), really for no apparent reason, and his addiction to barbituates throughout his entire adult life.Read more ›
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By kooky Kid on May 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Despite what die hards may think, I found that Marshall's tale was told in a balanced and moderate way, never lacking in compassion. None of us know the cause for addiction and certainly cannot claim to know the cure; but one of the hallmarks of the "dis-ease" is denial and in reading Cash's self penned book it seems that he seemed to be floating above the truth some of the time.As part of the viewing public we see the illusion that is embodied by these charismatic superstars and we get shaken when we feel someone has revealed too much of the human side of our idols. Marshall points out that Cash was the ultimate humanitarian, generous to a fault and always sympathetic to the underdog. When we are riveted to Cash and cannot take our eyes and ears away from him when he is performing, it is because he is all there in his human wretched glory- able to convey the poignancy pf life in every syllable. Marshall never slams and blames Cash, just explained life as it was for those surrounding Cash. There is a great deal of industry insider info, and lets not forget that while Johnny Cash was the headliner and the lead, Marshall was an artist as well, performing and sharing of himself on and off stage. I enjoyed the panorama of the story and I appreciate that Marshall has penned this book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Conor Cunneen on January 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A fine book about a great performer who was lucky to live as long as he did. Marshall Grant was Johnny Cash's longtime bassist and founding member of the Tennessee Two (later Three).

Here he catalogues Cash's rise to fame, the drug horror he went through and which he forced band members and the long suffering June Carter to endure.

The book is a littly syrupy at times, but Grant's affection for Cash was able to survive some dreadful behavior by The Man in Black including theft, thrashing his (Grant's) home, apparently unfair firing and slanderous comments about the author.

Cash's drug taking was far greater than the public was aware of and based on this book, it definitely impacted his creative capabilities.

Cash and the author had a major falling-out in the 1980's followed by a long drawn out legal squabble. It is to the credit of both men that they reconciled and became fast friends before Cash passed away.

This book has numerous great anecdotes, including an interesting story about a self-doubting! Muhammad Ali before his second fight with Leon (Not Michael as referenced in the book) Spinks. But the most memorable message to come from this book is the horrors of drug abuse and the terrible self destructive tendencies it generated in Johnny Cash. I hope he has more peace in the afterworld than he had here on earth.

Buy this book for a good read, but also encourage your teenage kids to read it.
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