"You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space." -Johnny Cash
A look at the life of rock and roll and country music legend Johnny Cash, who toured with Elvis and had his biggest hit with Ring of Fire.
Johnny was born into a family of sharecroppers. They were very poor, and Cash claims that he almost died of starvation as a child.
Sadly, his older brother Jack died in a tragic accident while working a table saw in 1944.
His early memories were dominated by gospel music and radio. Taught by his mother and a childhood friend, Johnny began playing guitar and writing songs as a young boy. By the age of twelve he was performing songs on local radio.
After a stint in the Air Force, Cash married Vivian Liberto and signed with Sun Records in 1955. In 1956, Cash recorded his signature hit Folsom Prison Blues, which he was inspired to write after seeing a powerful film about Folsom Prison. That same year, I Walk the Line marked his first No. 1 country hit. The following year, Cash released his debut album, Johnny Cash with His Hot & Blue Guitar.
Although he was Sun's most consistently best-selling and prolific artist at that time, Cash felt constrained by his contract with the small label. As a result he left the label to sign a lucrative deal with Columbia Records, where his single "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" would become one of his biggest hits.
Unfortunately, he became addicted to drugs and alcohol. In 1965, a violent outburst in Nashville had him banned from the famous Grande Old Opry venue. His addictions also caused the break-up of his marriage to Libreto, with whom he had four daughters - Rosanne, Kathleen, Cindy and Tara.
However, in the late 1960s Cash discovered God and met his future wife, June Carter, who offered him support and inspiration. The couple collaborated on a succession of acclaimed duet recordings, including Jackson and Long-Legged Guitar Pickin' Man (both 1967), before marrying in 1968.
The following year he won two Grammy awards for 'Johnny Cash Live at Folsom Prison'. Cash also presented his own variety program - The Johnny Cash Show - on the ABC television network for three years.
Cash reached a second peak of popularity in 1970. In addition to his television show, he performed for President Richard Nixon at the White House, acted with Kirk Douglas in The Gunfight, sang with John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra, and he was the subject of a documentary film.
His record sales were equally healthy as "Sunday Morning Coming Down" and "Flesh and Blood" were number one hits. Throughout 1971, Cash continued to have hits, including the Top Three "Man in Black." He also became more socially active in the early '70s, campaigning for the civil rights of Native Americans and prisoners.
In the mid-'70s, Cash's presence on the country charts began to decline, but he continued to have a series of minor hits and the occasional chart-topper like 1976's "One Piece at a Time," or Top Ten hits like the Waylon Jennings duet "There Ain't No Good Chain Gang" and "(Ghost) Riders in the Sky."
Man in Black, Cash's autobiography, was published in 1975. In 1980, he became the youngest inductee to the Country Music Hall of Fame. However, the '80s were a rough time for Cash as his record sales continued to decline and he ran into trouble with Columbia. Cash also teamed up with Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis to record The Survivors in 1982, which was a mild success.
In 1991 he was presented with a Grammy Legend Award and, in 1992, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (adding to his place in the Country Music and Rockabilly Halls). He then collaborated with U2 on their 1993 album 'Zooropa'. His 1994 album, 'American Recordings' earned him a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album. He was also invited to appear at rock festival Lollapalooza.
In 1997, another autobiography, Cash: The Autobiography, was published. It was around this time that Cash disclosed that he was suffering from Shy-Drager Syndrome, a progressive nervous disorder characterized by tremors, stiffness, and weakness. He was hospitalised several times with pneumonia and other illnesses.
Tragically, June Carter Cash died of complications following heart valve replacement surgery in May 2003. She was 73. Less than four months after his wife's death, Johnny Cash himself died at the age of 71. The cause was given as complications stemming from diabetes.