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Johnny walked along the line and frequently crossed it, but nevertheless will remain forever in the memory...
on 12 November 2013
"Johnny Cash: The Life" by Robert Hilburn is a biography of this distinctive musician who throughout his entire career attracted attention due to his music but also due to his behavior, which was anything but conventional.
Although I don't consider myself being great fan of Johnny Cash there are many of his songs that I like to listen. And due to the fact that I learned most about his turbulent life from a great movie "Walk the line", in which he was exceptionally well-acted by Joaquin Phoenix, I wanted to read this biography.
Inside, reader can find good overview of Johnny Cash's private life and music career that start from his youth he spent in Arkansas, time he spent in the Army and his ups and downs during the exciting music career that somehow ended with his moving "Hurt" video.
The fact is that the author doesn't beautifies things about Johnny's life, revealing some truths that won't appeal to those who previously weren't familiar with this information, for example when he's telling about his first wife Vivian cheating with other girls than June, on cheating June with her own sister, or the real truth how serious drug addict he was.
But as well, he had done some good things like getting Glen Sherley paroled or giving his money to charity.
While telling his story, both good and bad things, the author doesn't take either side nor gives his attitude. Instead he is just telling the facts and leave judgment of Johnny's life to each reader for her/himself.
Sadly, this book confirms what was seen in the movie that the roots of his violent and unpredicted behavior lie in relation to whom he had with his father who preferred his tragically deceased brother, and looked on Johnny as unworthy.
This is especially evident in the fact how his character changed after the tragedy, compared to Johnny who was before quite different gentle boy who loved books.
The author was able to get to know Johnny well through his life, and interesting information is that he was the only member of the press who was at the legendary Folsom Prison concert in 1968.
Also, he interviewed both Johnny and June in 2003 which was their last interviews before they died.
Through many of his interviews with Johnny and other people who worked, lived with or knew Johnny Cash, the author exposed his personal and musical merits and demerits, and shows this artist as true icon of the music scene that despite all the failures in his life will remain forever remembered.
"Johnny Cash: The Life" is a well-made and informative biography not only for fans of this distinctive musician, but due to his contribution to the music scene, to all lovers of rock 'n roll and music in general.
Johnny was a man who was walking along the line and frequently crossed it, but nevertheless will remain forever in the memory...