3/02/2008

Music Monday

Much as I like Bishi, how I did not make Johnny Cash the chosen artist of my inaugural Music Monday, I'll never know. My love for Johnny Cash is fairly recent; until five or six years ago my knowledge of his music was scant. I was steadfast in my hatred of country music, and then, something changed.

Not only do I adore him as a musician, but he was a true rock and roll badass. Witness:

Johnny Cash, San Quentin



If you're resistant to this era of Johnny Cash (silly buggers), how about Hurt?:



If this song and video doesn't break your heart into a million tiny pieces, you're lacking a soul. It's originally a NIN song, which is interesting since Trent Reznor wrote it about heroin addiction, yet as sung by Cash it becomes a lamentation on aging, watching your life ebb away as you sit by unable to stop the passing of time.

My grandpa died right after the song and video were released, and the first time I watched it I cried for an hour. I can't watch it now without tearing up, seeing my grandpa's experience reflected in the voice of Johnny Cash. A former WWII soldier, he hated how age rendered him physically useless. In his eyes, he was 30 one day, and 89 the next. He went from 13 hour days spent working on railroads to not being able to climb a small stepladder to pick an orange from the tree in his backyard, all within the blink of an eye.

So thank you Johnny Cash - for being one of the first true embodiments of rock & roll, and giving me the opportunity to memorialise my grandpa with a song whose words so resonated with you as well.

"If I could start again/A million miles away/I would keep myself/I would find a way"

10 comments:

Anita said...

I too love Johnny Cash.

Years ago I lives in a small town and the only radio station I could pick up was the local country station. Stuck in the house with two small children I spent hours in the kitchen baking bread and listening to country music. I learned to appreciate it for what it was.

When Walk The Line was released I found myself drawn to Cash's life, love for June and developed a little crush on Johnny.

DD said...

I also love the song Hurt and the juxtoposition of Reznor with Cash. It just goes to show you that talent cannot be limited by genre.

My mom recalls how one day she and XBoy were driving around doing errands and XBoy was singing Ring of Fire, which of course is from my Mom's generation.

calliope said...

amazing songs.

Just did my own music monday- thanks for the blog fodder!

xo

Becky said...

Johnny Cash is wonderful and amazing. My (now) 6 year old has been obsessed with him for many years. His rendition of Jackson is quite adorable.

May said...

Oh God I love Johnny Cash. Love love love. And that song made me cry anyway. Your grandpa made me cry. Now I cry muchly. *blows nose*.

Did I say I love Johnny Cash?

May said...

I love commenting right next to the other May.

Johnny Cash is playing on the CD player in my car right now! (Well, since I'm typing, I'm obviously not driving, but you get the idea.)

Vacant Uterus said...

I didn't know that "Hurt" was originally a NIN song; that's interesting. See, you taught me something! COunt me in as a recent Cash fan, too.

Kristi said...

I like Johnny Cash too, but I will shamefully admit that I've enjoyed his music only since Walk the Line came out. Like you, I hated all things country, but although his music certainly has country undertones, I don't put him in the same class as say, Garth Brooks or Tim McGraw (blech). And I am a huge NIN fan going waaay back to HS, so the Hurt cover? Rocks my world too.

Rachel said...

Johnny Cash's version of "Hurt" makes Trent Reznor look like a boy-bander.

The Man In Black was a serious bad-ass. I doubt we'll see the likes of him again.

neko said...

Music Monday!! Mmmmmmm Johnny...

Do you have the children's album. Every time we play it I think of you. Seriously. Is that creepy? hehe.

If you do not have the Johnny Cash Children's Album... I will send it to you. (but i bet you do)