With all those Idol contests and StarAcademy shows, looking for the next commercially exploitable star, people tend to forget some great ones. Who loved music for different reasons than seems to be the tendency today. As Dylan said, times they are a-changing, and would the artists of before have made it if they would have started their careers today? Still I wonder, who today has made an impact, musically, lyrically, … So in my moments of doubt, I go back to the oldies. An oldie but so good.
If you didn’t know, I’m referring to Johnny Cash (wiki-page). It’s strange. I’ve known the voice so long, but only know about the man a couple of years. Yes, before ‘Walk the line’ (2005) hit the cinema with Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June. I still haven’t seen this movie though. The album that took my intrest was ‘Unchained’ (1996), which I highly recommend.
photo: by Don Hunstein, 1959
I’ve liked his voice not because he has a good singing voice, but because he always sounds so honest. Every single time I hear him. A voice of a man who lived, experienced life. And the lyrics of most of his songs are just unbelievable. The first time I heard A boy named Sue, I just laughed and had to hear it again and again. Another song I find impressive is I’ve been everywhere. It’s impossible to sing along to, and yet everytime I try.
Of course there are too many songs to mention or give tribute to. The one video that almost made me cry is this one. His very last video. Hurt is a song by Nine Inch Nails (and when I compared it – it didn’t move me like Johnny did.) Hearing those lyrics sung with his voice and seeing his pictures throughout the video, his wife June and all … I just thought “this must be so hard for his kids to watch this now he’s gone”. Because he died not long after.
What surprised me are the covers he did (while many have covered him):
to name a few: Rusty Cage – originally by Soundgarden and One – ofcourse by U2 …