The Man in Black, The Undertaker, simply Johnny…. whatever you call Johnny Cash, his name is synonymous with country music.
The definition of a transcendent artist, Cash could easily be considered to GOAT depending on who you talk to, and if he isn’t, you’d be hard pressed to find anybody that wouldn’t have his face on their Mount Rushmore of country artists.
The music world said goodbye to Johnny in September of 2003, but his last public performance came a couple months before that.
On July 5th, 2003, Johnny Cash made his last ever live performance, appearing at the Carter Family Fold near Hiltons, Virginia. Before singing “Ring of Fire,” Cash dedicated the performance to his late with wife June who had passed a few months prior:
“The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me, and the love I have for her.
We connect somewhere between here and heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has.
She’s never been one for me except courage and inspiration. I thank God for June Carter, I love her with all my heart.
I would like to do a song that she wrote that she was extremely proud of.”
You can hear the heartbreak in his voice, and Johnny himself would eventually pass away (complications from diabetes) four months after June’s passing.
Here’s to the great Johnny Cash.
“Ring Of Fire”
He also performed “Understand Your Man”
Johnny Cash Shares His Secret To Happy Marriage In Final Interview
Talk about one of the deepest interviews ever conducted.
We’re talking about Johnny Cash’s final interview with Kurt Loder on August 20th, 2003, shortly before his passing due to respiratory failure from complications with diabetes.
In the interview, you can feel that he knows his life is nearing the end, and he even admits it.
Of course, he was 71-years-old, had just lost his wife June Carter, and continued to etch his name in country music history forever with “Hurt,” a song originally recorded by Nine Inch Nails, but made famous by Cash.
Throughout his final interview, he talks about marriage, his record deal, personal battles, and his music career in general.
It’s no secret that Cash constantly battled himself, knowing that a part of him was an incredible person, and the other was what he believed to be “evil.”
He said it best by saying:
“Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight.”
Nevertheless, those two personalities molded him into one of the greatest singers, songwriters, and performers the country music world had ever seen.
He discusses working with Rick Rubin on American Recordings, stating that it was some of his best work to date.
As he continues to open up to Loder, he delivers a strong word of advice on independence to everybody, no matter who you are:
“You can’t let people delegate to you what you should do.
When it’s coming from way in here, you know?
I wouldn’t let anybody influence me into thinking I was doing the wrong thing by singing about death, hell, and drugs.”
Throughout the interview, you can see that Cash is at peace with himself, even though his deep cut of “Hurt” may have speculated otherwise.