Johnny Cash: The Life Paperback – 6 Nov 2014
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"Rock biographies can feel like they are ten-a-penny so it is a refreshing change to read a meaty no-holds barred, non-sycophantic record of legendary Man in Black Johnny Cash...
...The wealth of detail on every page, in every incident in Cash's Life (1932-2002) is both impressive and a joy to read. Unlike so many biographies that are reported incidents jigsawed together, this is almost an eyewitness account with not always favourable opinion, perfecting its colour and gravitas.'(Nicole Carmichael SUNDAY EXPRESS)
The result is the most authoritative and revealing portrait to date of the most chronicled figure in country-music history. (Eddie Dean The Wall Street Journal Europe)
..finely wrought biography (Eddie Dean The Wall Street Journal Europe)
A great story requires great storytelling, and that's exactly what it receives here. Ultimately, Robert Hilburn's biography uncannily resembles its subject: massive and stolid, but with a dangerous glint in its eye. (Charles Shaar Murray LITERARY REVIEW)
There is madness aplenty in this excellent life of the turbulent Johnny Cash. (Rod Liddle SUNDAY TIMES)
A warts-and-all biography follows Johnny Cash, a rebel and outsider, from one drama to the next. It's a must-read. (Will Hodgkinson (Chief Rock Critic) THE TIMES)
Johnny Cash was a man both extraordinary and ordinary. Every man could relate to him, no man could be him, and only one man could get inside his head - like Robert Hilburn. (Bono)
..a moving, respectful and sympathetic biography. (Alan Taylor SUNDAY HERALD (GLASGOW))
Hilburn's biography has the sort of immense scope and tremendous insight that comes from years of interviewing such a truthful, troubling subject. (Rob Fitzpatrick SUNDAY TIMES)
How do you write an interesting biography of such a beloved figure?
First, hire Robert Hilburn. he is a prodigious researcher, but he keeps a steady hand on the tiller, and never allows his research to swamp his narrative. He knows his music and music history, but unlike far too many music critics, he avoids the temptation to show off.
The definitive biography of an American original... (THE ECONOMIST)
Robert Hilburn displays a deeply felt affinity with his subject, illuminating Johnny Cash as the moral compass of country music. (Patti Smith)
Johnny Cash and Robert Hilburn are two of the true blessings of my life. Both the best at what they do and each a gifted artist. It's a killer combination. (Kris Kristofferson)
With straightforward prose, and through years of meticulous research, Robert Hilburn unravels the sometimes dark and magical life of one of music's greatest legends. Oftentimes this is a chronicle of pain, whether Hilburn is detailing Cash's early loss of his beloved brother, or the anguish he talked to Rick Rubin about feeling upon the death of wife June, but Hilburn gives much insight into what drove Cash's work. This is a harrowing story of addiction, musical genius, and enduring faith that goes far deeper than any film biopic ever will. In the end, Hilburn has achieved what is most certainly the definitive Johnny Cash biography. (Charles R. Cross Author of 'Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain')
Hilburn has pulled off the rare feat of making the dispassionate truth more extraordinary than the myth. (Andy Fyfe Mojo)
Hilburn displays a quite remarkable empathy with his subject and his writing style is highly readable and totally gripping. The book has just been published in the UK and is surely a must for any serious country music buff. (David Alan Country Music People)
Robert Hilburn has written a magnificent biography. (BBC RADIO 4 FRONT ROW)
The definitive, intimate, no-holds-barred biography of Johnny Cash.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
The author`s research is exhaustively thorough and has lead to a very well rounded account of the singer. I never realised just how Christian minded a man Cash was, and initially was quite sceptical. But, he genuinely was a man who whole heartedly believed in his faith, although he lapsed so many times, thus causing himself tons of inner turmoil and anguish.
The vast overuse of illegal drugs, numerous episodes of infidelity, and public leanings towards men incarcerated within US high security jails all contributing to the infamous "bad guy" reputation.
The book suffers excruciatingly, frequently, with reportage of practically every song and album released, and in my opinion this content could favourably have been reduced by at least 25%.
The final years of Cash`s life are very well reported and easily filled my eyes at times with tears.
Overall, a book I am glad I read, and one I would recommend to those who seek to learn intimately about the life of one of C&W`s more important icons.
Meticulously researched, the book draws a vivid, intimate picture of Cash, almost creating a personal relationship between artist and reader, a feat seldom achieved in biographies. Commencing with a poverty stricken childhood in Arkansas where radio first installed musical ambitions and furthered by records and time in the military, he headed to Memphis, Sun Records and Sam Phillips, the producer who made his mark as a founding father of rock ‘n’ roll. Like Rick Rubin, at the end of Cash’s recording career, Phillips provided a guiding hand to the artist’s own creativity – and initial chart success led on to Columbia Records. There, with chart singles and a series of concept albums (including Ride This Train, Bitter Tears, Gospel Road and the Folsom Prison [where Hilburn was the only journalist present, so a genuine firsthand account] and San Quentin Prison recordings), critical acclaim met public success and, by the end of the 1960s he was headlining his own tv series and established as the biggest selling recording artist in the USA.
But the great heights of success was followed by a steady decline in record sales, finally resulting in Columbia dropping Cash from its artist roster. A short-lived association with Mercury Records failed to change his fortunes.Read more ›
this is the best book on country singer johnny cash that i have read,if you are a johnny cash fan then this book is for you,out of ten i would give it top marks.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this book like I have never loved a biography before. Robert Hilburn has a way of writing that takes you away to an era, to a life of one of the most wonderful singers ever. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Linda