It’s the 65th anniversary of Johnny Cash’s legendary hit song, “I Walk The Line,” which was released on May 1st, 1956. Written by Cash himself, it went on to become his first #1 single on the Billboard charts.
According to NPR, Cash was on an Air Force in Germany, when he put a tape up on his reel-to-reel recorder backwards. The song was by a German band called Landsberg Barbarians but because it was playing backwards is delivered this “haunting drone full of weird chord changes, something that sounded like spooky church music.”
And the melody was born.
The lyrics? Well those were pretty obvious. The newly married Cash was out on the road and let’s just say the temptation was real. It almost served as a message to himself, Cash said of the song.
“It was kind of a prodding to myself to, `Play it straight, Johnny,'”
And the rest is history.
I mean, anybody who’s anybody can recognize this tune, and now, 65 years later, it’s still one of the most iconic country songs ever written.
Here’s a performance from just two years after it was released… all the way back in 1958.