On This Date: Johnny Cash Recorded His Iconic “Ring Of Fire” In 1963

Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash

One of the Man in Black‘s most famous songs.

Recorded on March 25th, 1963, “Ring Of Fire” was released into the world the following month and years later was noted as one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of all time. And today, it remains one of Johnny Cash‘s signature songs.

However, it wasn’t Cash that came up with the clever lyrics. His then-future bride, June Carter Cash, wrote the single about falling for a man who was wild, daring, and lived an ‘on the edge’ life, but she couldn’t help but be drawn to him. Carter reportedly came up with this idea wrestling with her own emotions late one night on a drive.

However, as Cash and Carter wouldn’t wed till five years later, the song was not initially written for him. It was written for her sister, Anita Carter who initially recorded the single under the title of “(Love’s) Ring Of Fire.”

Once he heard the song, Cash wanted to do it his way. He struck up a deal with Anita Carter that if it was not a hit six months after her release, he would get to record it. Sure enough, once that six-month mark hit, Cash headed to the studio with legendary producer Don Law to record his version of the song.

With the addition of the mariachi-style horns, his twist on the song gave it a whole new light compared to the whimsical love song that Anita recorded. The song became a massive hit for Cash, staying at number on the charts for seven weeks. The song still carries significant weight for the Cash children, knowing that their mother did fall for a wild spirit, and although Cash didn’t directly inspire the song, it’s hard to imagine anyone else singing it as the hit it was.

Rosanne Cash once said about the song:

“The song was about the transformative power of love, and that’s what is has always meant to me. That’s what it will always mean to the Cash children.”

If anything else rings true, it is that June Carter’s love story with Johnny Cash was like a fire. Although it started out as a low-burning friendship, once they crossed that line to lovers, it went wild.

The taste of love is sweet
When hearts like ours meet

I fell for you like a child
Oh, but the fire went wild..”

And while you’re here, check out this incredible live version:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock