Remembering Johnny Cash with his Spanish Version of 'Ring of Fire'

Johnny Cash, 1986
David Redfern/Redferns

Johnny Cash performs on stage at the Country Music Festival held at Wembley Arena in London on March 31, 1986.

¡Feliz Cumple Johnny! Listen to when El Hombre de Negro sang in Spanish, plus a rock en español homage to the immortal Cash.

Johnny Cash would have been 86 years-old today (Feb. 26), and here at Billboard Latin we’re celebrating The Man in Black’s own Latin explosion. That happened in 1963, following  the instant success of his mariachi-tinged “Ring of Fire.” Cash, who had already recorded in German, did a Spanish cover of “Ring of Fire,” which over the years has surfaced under the title “Anillo de Fuego” as well as “Fuego D’Amor.”

The rare recording was included on the CBS album Johnny Cash Canta en Español. Like some other American artists, from Nat King Cole to Justin Bieber, Cash faced a linguistic challenge. But the Man in Black gamely took it on, and also acknowledged his debt to Latin culture with “El Matador,” the Spanish version of another (though less enduring) hit  single (“The Matador”).

Here, we remember Cash with those two songs in Spanish, plus a tribute to El Hombre de Negro by Spanish rocker Loquillo, Enrique Bunbury, Andres Calamaro and Jaime Urrutia. ¡Feliz Cumple Johnny!