How the Man in Black Changed Music Essay

Submitted By cgarside15
Words: 1207
Pages: 5

Connor Garside
Mrs. Fink
9 January 2012 How "The Man in Black” Changed Music There have been several extraordinary artists who have changed music, but there is only one artist who has been deemed the philosopher of American country music. Johnny Cash, an American hero to many, is known for his incredibly unique voice and his storytelling through country and rock music. Cash, one of the most well known American musical artists, shows how the world can be changed through music. However, Cash did not get there easily; throughout his life he made his share of poor decisions. Cash changed the face of country music, proving that one can still change the world despite making poor choices in life. Johnny’s young life, starting out in the early nineteen thirties, began well. Soon after though, things started to take a turn for the worst, once he began making poor choices. Cash grew up in Arkansas with his Mom and Dad, Ray and Carrie Cash. Cash’s parents were a good influence on him, but once the Great Depression hit, Johnny’s parents could barely afford to feed their seven children. Eventually, one thing led to another, and Johnny started getting into trouble. By definition, Johnny Cash was a stupid kid. Not mentally stupid, but he made many idiotic decisions. John was always getting into trouble, sometimes for robbery, other times for stealing cars, or spraying graffiti. Surprisingly enough though, Johnny only spent a couple of days behind bars his entire life. Most of his idiotic decisions were based off of childhood stress and just trying to stay alive during the Great Depression. Cash spent several nights in jail, and he became inspired to write a song based off of it. Ray Larson of wrote, “Cash decided to write, In the Jailhouse Now, to sum up his younger life and to describe his life in prison.” In this quote, Ray Larson is saying that by going to jail, Cash summed up his younger life, and decided that it needed to be changed. This quote is relevant to the topic because it shows how the result of his poor choices, going to prison, helped him to transition into the role model he will end up being. Johnny expresses his life experiences through his music and thus, takes his first steps towards what he will become, an influential musician. Johnny’s poor choices led him to hit rock bottom when he went to prison, but took that opportunity to turn his life around and begin writing music. Johnny helped changed the world by changing the face of country music. Although musicians had been playing fiddle tunes in the southern Appalachians for years, it wasn’t until, August 1st, 1927 in Bristol, Tennessee where county music actually began. Before Johnny Cash’s day and age, many famous early country singers such as Bill Monroe and Charley Pride ruled the country music genre. Throughout the years, many new types of country developed, such as Honkey Tonk music and the Nashville sound. Rich Kinezie, a writer for Sling Music Corporation wrote, “Cash strengthened the bonds between folk and country music. That’s why he has been deemed the Philosopher Prince of American Country Music.” Rich Kinezie stated that Johnny Cash brought folk and country music together. In this way, Cash, ‘essentially’ created his own genre of country music. Not many artists are unique enough to change music. Johnny Cash, one of the biggest influences on music, managed to do so. At the same time, Cash created an entirely new genre of combined music, that’s why he has been deemed the Philosopher Prince of American Country Music. Kinezie also implied that Cash created a genre that both folk and country listeners could enjoy. Cash did not just bring folk and country together though, in fact, he partially incorporated parts of rock music too. By doing this, Johnny Cash gained listeners of all genres. This quote demonstrates how Cash changed the definition of country music, and how he changed it during his lifetime. Johnny Cash, a huge