Johnny Cash wrote this number 1 hit song “Folsom Prison Blues” while he was stationed in Germany with the Air Force in 1952. He said he was inspired by a crime drama that was played for the troops on base called Inside The Walls of Folsom Prison. Cash performed the song live to a crowd of inmates at Folsom State Prison in 1968 for his live album At Folsom Prison (1968), released through Columbia Records. This version became a No. 1 hit on the country music charts and reached No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the same year. This version also won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Male, at the 11th Annual Grammy Awards in 1969.
Johnny Cash was born February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas. He made his first single, “Hey Porter”, for Sun Records in 1955. With his second recording, “Folsom Prison Blues,” Johnny Cash scored a national hit. In 1956, “I Walk the Line” was a top country hit for 44 weeks and sold over a million copies. Johnny began to appear at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, the Mecca of country music. Johnny Cash married June Carter of the legendary Carter Family, whose radio broadcasts had inspired Johnny when he was growing up in Arkansas. With June at his side, he made a triumphant comeback, selling out Carnegie Hall and breaking the Beatles’ attendance record at London’s Palladium. Over the course of his career, he received 11 Grammy Awards. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. He received the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of the Arts, and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hello I’m Johnny Cash
I hear the train a comin’
It’s rolling round the bend
And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when
I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on
But that train keeps a rollin’ on down to San Antone.
When I was just a baby my mama told me “Son
Always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns.”
But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die
When I hear that whistle blowin’, I hang my head and cry.
I bet there’s rich folks eating from a fancy dining car
They’re probably drinkin’ coffee and smoking big cigars.
Well I know I had it coming, I know I can’t be free
But those people keep a movin’
And that’s what tortures me…
Well if they freed me from this prison
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line
Far from Folsom prison, that’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away…
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