On This Date: Johnny Cash’s Iconic “Folsom Prison Blues” Goes Number One In 1968

When you think of Johnny Cash, whether you’re a diehard fan or not, there’s always one song that immediately comes to mind from the Man In Black himself:

“Folsom Prison Blues.

Several key components from the 1955 hit make it the most recognizable song Cash has ever recorded, from the unique guitar intro, to lyrics that make you feel like you’re watching a movie unfold.

I mean, tell me another song that can compete with lyrics like this:

“When I was just a baby, my mama told me ‘son’
‘Always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns’
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him di
When I hear that whistle bowin’, I hang my head and cry”

Is it dark? Yes. Is it genius? Absolutely.

The song came off of his first album, Johnny Cash With His Hot and Blue Guitar!, and was inspired by the movie Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison. It was written by Cash and produced by Sam Phillips.

Although the song saw near immediate success when it was first released in 1955, the song hit number one on the charts for the very first time on this date back in 1968 with the live version from his live album, At Folsom Prison.

So here’s to ol’ Mr. Cash, one of the greatest storytellers to ever walk this planet. I bet he never imagined a jail ballad based off a movie would be one of the first songs to put him on the map.

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