American Recordings

This section includes the years from 1991 until 2003.

Quick notes:
– Career burst
– American Recordings
– “American Recordings”
– Acting success
– Two times Grammy
– Book release
– Rock and Roll HoF
– Illness
– Hurt success
– June passes
– John passes

Johnny Cash Hurt American Recordings

Rejuvenated Career

John had struggled with sinking popularity the last decade or so, and needed an upswing soon. In 1991 he got it. Cash was doing a show when Rick Rubin from American Recordings approached him. He wanted to sign him. He wasn’t sought after by major labels anymore so Cash was very surprised by the offer. But we can all praise him for saying yes and again giving us amazing music right up to the point when he died in 2003.

American Recordings

Rick Rubin was his producer at American Recordings. Johnny had from before-hand argued a lot with his producers over his music, but with Rubin it worked perfectly. Jack Clement wanted to add strings and a barbershop-quartet-style to his music, and Sam Phillips didn’t respect his feelings regarding a stripped-down music style. Rubin toned down Cash’ music and Johnny could finally record the music like he always wanted to.

In his own living room, with only his own guitar and his own voice, Cash recorded his first album for American Recordings, appropriately called “American Recordings”. The album was released in 1994 and recieved much critical and commercial success.

The album featured several covers of contemporary artists, all selected by Rubin. This was beoynd doubt a good idea as the album won a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album.

A highlight in an impressive career

Shortly after relasing “American Recordings”, John held a concert at Glastonbury Festival. Cash wrote himself that the reception he got there was one of the highlights in his career.

So we can say with confidence that this was the beginning of a decade of music industry accolades and surprising commercial success!

Acting career follows success

With the new success in music, Cash also appeared on several tv shows. Both John and June had their appearances in the popular tv series “Dr. Quinn, Medecine Woman”. Jane Seymour, that stars as Dr. Quinn, thought so highly of John that she named one of her sons after him.

He also appeared in “Simpsons” as the voice of a coyote guiding Homer on a spritual quest.

Another Grammy

On the sequel to “American Recordings”, Cash was joined by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The album was released in 1996, and were so good it recieved a Grammy for Best Country Album. This album focused even more on cover songs than the first one.

The autobiography

John released in 1975 an autobiography called “Man in Black”, but he didn’t feel like he got to explain enough of himself. So in 1997 he wrote another one entitled “Cash: The Autobiography”.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Cash had already been inducted in Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and The Country Music Hall of Fame, but in 1992 he also became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Only three other artist share the same achivement as Cash, being inducted to all three. Hank Williams Sr., Jimmie Rodgers and Bill Monroe has also been honored with these three memberships. But, it’s an important point to make that Cash was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the regular manner, as opposed to the others who were inducted as “early influencers”.

It’s also in order to mention that he recieved the Kennedy Centre Honors in 1996.


In 1997, Cash was diagnosed with Shy-Drager Syndrome (it later turned out to be something else. See next chapter in biography.). This put him back severly, mostly because of pneumonia wich damaged his lungs.

The result of the illness, you can here in his last albums. Both that you actually can here he’s getting worse, and also that the songs have a more somber tone.


A song from American IV: The Man Comes Around called “Hurt” recived a lot of recognition and positiv critisism. The video for the originall NIN song is thought of as Cash’ epitah, as it takes us through his life.

Hurt is the most successfull single of this period in the artist’s career.

June passes away

In the spring of 2003, June had a heart-valve replacement surgery. Due to some complications with this surgery, June Carter Cash died on May 15, 2003 at the age of 73.

Though Cash was devestated of the news, he carried on recording songs. It was also June’s wish that he continued working. He both recorded music and performed live on certain occasions (mostly at the Carter Family Fold in Bristol, Virgina). At june 23, 2003, Cash held a concert at the mentioned location. In this concert, before performing “Ring of Fire”, he read a statement in memory of his late wife. He barely made it through the song (that June wrote).

John R Cash passes

On September 12, 2003, Johnny Cash passes away due to some complications with diabetes. He spent his last days in his own home in Nashville, Tennessee.

John lived only four months more than his wife, and was interred next to her in Hendersonville Memory Gardens near his home.

A great artist through almost 50 years is no longer with us in person, but his spirit lives on in all the songs he has written and the countless songs made famous by him.

We thank You Johnny Cash for giving us a bit of yourself through your songs! May You rest in Peace.

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