The Legend of Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash passed away at age 71 on September 12, 2003 but his legend lives on. The first album to span his entire career, 1955-2003, "The Legend Of Johnny Cash", released October 25, 2005. "Walk The Line, " the 20th Century Fox film based on his early years and starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, premieres November 18th.

Featuring 21 of his recordings on the Sun, Columbia, Island and American Recordings labels, "The Legend Of Johnny Cash" is the first compilation to include his work on American. Also highlighting the package is a 16-page deluxe booklet with photos and essay by author Rich Kienzle.

His Sun Records tracks begin with his first single, "Hey, Porter"/"Cry! Cry! Cry!, " a Country Top 20 penned by Cash and produced by Sam Phillips. Straddling country and rock 'n' roll, they scored in 1956 with the Top 10 Country "Folsom Prison Blues, " #1 Country/Top 20 Pop "I Walk The Line" and #1 Country "Get Rhythm." Also heard from his Sun days are 1958's "Big River" (#4 Country/Top 20 Pop) and "Guess Things Happen That Way" (#1 Country/Top 20 Pop).

Cash signed with Columbia in 1958 and five years later had a #1 Country/Top 20 Pop hit with "Ring Of Fire, " a ballad co-written by June Carter, who in 1967 would duet with him on the #2 Country "Jackson" and later become his wife. In 1969, the live "Johnny Cash At San Quentin" yielded his biggest hit: Shel Silverstein's novelty "A Boy Named Sue" (#1 Country/#2 Pop).

Kris Kristofferson composed Cash's 1970 #1 Country hit "Sunday Morning Coming Down" while Cash himself composed his personal philosophy on 1971's #3 Country "Man In Black, " his nickname for the rest of his days. Also from his Columbia tenure are 1976's "One Piece At A Time" (#1 Country/Top 30 Pop) and 1985's "Highwayman" with Waylon Jennings and Kristofferson.

Cash joined Mercury in 1986 and "The Legend Of Johnny Cash" includes a track from that period titled "The Wanderer, " a duet with U2 written by Bono and U2, taken from the group's 1993 release "Zooropa." That same year Rick Rubin, known for producing rap and rock acts, offered to record Cash singing whatever he chose. 1994's American Recordings, including college radio favorite "Delia's Gone, " brought Cash to a new generation and won the Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy. On 1996's Unchained, Cash brilliantly interpreted Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" as well as the Hank Snow classic "I've Been Everywhere" and copped the Grammy for Best Country Album. On 2003's "American IV: The Man Comes Around, " he revisited old favorite "Give My Love To Rose" and gave new meaning to Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" (the video for "Hurt" was 6 times nominated at MTV's 2003 VMA's and also won a Grammy for "Best Short Form Music Video" that same year). From 2003's posthumous box set "Unearthed, " "The Legend Of Johnny Cash" adds an early take on "The Man Comes Around."

Today, 50 years after his recording debut, Johnny Cash has taken his place among the immortals of American music.

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