Johnny Cash’s Favorite Song He Ever Wrote Is Probably One You’d Never Expect

Johnny Cash country music
Johnny Cash

I can feel a dive down the Johnny Cash rabbit hole starting again.

There’s few artists in country music that have had the impact of The Man In Black. Sure, there’s no shortage that have made a lasting mark on the genre itself, but how many have become full on cultural icons for sticking up for what’s right, being tough, and giving it to the man, all while putting out a huge catalogue of great music? Not many, not many at all.

Plus, he may have been the first American to learn of Joseph Stalin’s death and protested the Vietnam War directly to Richard Nixon inside the White House, who else can claim to have both of those on their resume?

Cash released 67 studio albums over his decades long career features a near countless number of songs that he had written. With that much music you think it would be hard for him to pick a favorite song he wrote, and if he had too, he’d probably choose some of the biggest hits he had, like “Folsom Prison Blues” or “I Walk The Line”.

Well, Johnny was asked what his favorite song he had written was back in 1982 by 60 Minutes anchor Harry Reasoner (which is a great name for a level headed, unbiased reporter) and he gave this answer:

“Well I think I probably should say it’s “I Walk the Line” because it was my biggest seller, but the one that really means more to me, that says it more for me in my life I think, is “Pickin’ Time.”

The message of the song is good times comin’ for us all, pickin’ time.”

Here’s some verses from that song, which was released in 1958 on his second album titled The Fabulous Johnny Cash. 

“I got cotton in the bottom landIt’s up and growin’ and I got a good standMy good wife and them kids of mineGonna get new shoes, come pickin’ timeGet new shoes come pickin’ time…

Last Sunday mornin’ when they passed the hatIt was still nearly empty back where I satBut the preacher smiled and said that’s fineThe Lord’ll wait til pickin’ timeThe Lord’ll wait til pickin’ time…”

Good stuff right there… the fulfillment of delayed gratification, knowing that your hard work will one day be rewarded and that reward is what you’re looking forward too.

Reasoner went on to say that some of his songs are happy ones, like “Pickin’ Time”, while others are lowdown and dirty like “Folsom Prison Blues” and wondered if he had trouble reconciling those two kinds of music he wrote and released, to which Johnny replied:

“No. Roy Orbison had a line in a song called “My Best Friend”, and in it was a line that says “A diamond is a diamond and a stone is a stone, but man is part good and part bad.”

You know, I recognize the fact that I’m part good and part bad.”

Man, that’s a great answer.

Few can answer questions or make statements with as much power, despite using normal, everyday words, like Johnny Cash.

Now let’s enjoy an early Johnny Cash classic and remember that our hard work will one day be rewarded, be rewarded at pickin’ time.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock