Feb. 26, 1932: J. R. Cash is born in Kingsland, Ark., to Southern Baptist cotton farmers Ray Cash and Carrie Cloveree. Cash, who shows a musical aptitude at a very young age, grows very close to his brother Jack, who is involved in a tragic table saw accident while working in a mill in 1944. 15-year-old Jack suffers for over a week before he dies on May 20, 1944.
July 7, 1950: J. R. joins in the Air ...
July 7, 1950: J. R. joins in the Air Force and, upon enlisting, begins using the name John. After serving in San Antonio, Texas, John is assigned to a base in Landsberg, Germany, where he forms his first band, called The Landsberg Barbarians.
Aug. 7, 1954: John marries Vivian Lib...
Aug. 7, 1954: John marries Vivian Liberto. The couple have four daughters: Rosanne, Kathy, Cindy and Tara.
1955: Cash meets and begins an intens...
1955: Cash meets and begins an intense working relationship with young country singer June Carter. Cash's relationship with Carter -- in addition to constant touring and drug and alcohol abuse -- leads Vivian to file for divorce in 1966.
July 1955: Cash adopts the stage name...
July 1955: Cash adopts the stage name “Johnny” and releases "Hey Porter" and "Cry Cry Cry,” his first recording with Sun Records. On October 11, 1957, Cash becomes the first artist on the label to release a full-length album, which is titled ‘Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar.’
May 11, 1965: Cash is arrested in Sta...
May 11, 1965: Cash is arrested in Starkville, Miss., for trespassing after he stops to pick flowers on private property. The incident later inspires the song "Starkville City Jail", which Cash later details on his live At San Quentin prison album. Cash’s run-in with the law continues in October 1965, when he is arrested in El Paso, Texas, for possession of narcotics. The officers suspected that he was smuggling heroin from Mexico, but found instead 688 Dexedrine capsules and 475 Equanil tablets that the singer had hidden inside his guitar case.
Feb. 22, 1968: Cash proposes to June ...
Feb. 22, 1968: Cash proposes to June Carter onstage during a performance at the London Ice House, a hockey arena in Ontario, Canada. She accepts and the couple are wed a week later at a church in Franklin, Ky.
Feb. 29, 1968: Cash and June Carter w...
Feb. 29, 1968: Cash and June Carter win a Grammy for best country & western performance, duet, trio or group for their song "Jackson." The win is the first of 19 Grammys awarded to Cash throughout his career.
May 1968: Columbia Records releases A...
May 1968: Columbia Records releases At Folsom Prison, a live album recorded at Folsom State Prison in California on Jan. 13, 1968. Cash was backed by June Carter, as well as Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Three during the show for the inmates. The album reaches No. 1 on the Billboard Country Album chart. The lead single from the album, a live version of "Folsom Prison Blues,” becomes Cash's first top 40 hit since 1964.
June 4, 1969: Following the success o...
June 4, 1969: Following the success of Folsom, Cash releases At San Quentin, a recording of a live concert given to the inmates of California's San Quentin State Prison earlier that year. The single "A Boy Named Sue" reaches No. 1 on the Billboard country charts and No. 2 on the U.S. pop charts.
June 7, 1969: Riding high on his rene...
June 7, 1969: Riding high on his renewed popularity, Cash premieres The Johnny Cash Show, a music variety program on the ABC network. The series runs until March 1971 and features guests such as Glenn Campbell (pictured), Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, The Monkees, Kenny Rogers, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles and many more during its 58-episode run.
March 3, 1970: Johnny and June give b...
March 3, 1970: Johnny and June give birth to their only son, John Carter Cash.
March 1971: Johnny -- who is now know...
March 1971: Johnny -- who is now known to consistently wear black onstage and off -- records "Man in Black," a protest song that would become one of his signature tracks. "I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down/ Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town/ I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime/ But still is there because he's a victim of the times,” read the song’s key lyrics. The song reaches No. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
August 1975: Cash releases his first ...
August 1975: Cash releases his first autobiography, Man in Black. It goes on to sell 1.3 million copies.
October 1980: At the age of 48, Cash ...
October 1980: At the age of 48, Cash becomes the youngest living inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
1983: Cash is attacked by a large Afr...
1983: Cash is attacked by a large African ostrich named Waldo in his wild animal park in Henderson, Tenn. The animal crushes several of Cash's ribs and tears open his stomach. While recovering, Cash becomes addicted to painkillers. In December of that year, he checks into the Betty Ford Center to kick his prescription pill addiction. In 1986, Cash publishes, Man in White, a novel about the Apostle Paul. In July, after a decade without a hit, Johnny is dropped by Columbia Records.
Jan. 15, 1992: Johnny Cash is inducte...
Jan. 15, 1992: Johnny Cash is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Lyle Lovett. After receiving a standing ovation, an emotional Cash states, "You made me see that I might actually belong in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame."
April 1994: Cash partners with famed ...
April 1994: Cash partners with famed rock/ hip-hop producer Rick Rubin for the acoustic album American Recordings, which finds the singer performing songs by artists such as Tom Waits and Glenn Danzig. The success of the critically acclaimed album revives Cash’s career, earns him a Grammy for contemporary folk album of the year and brings Johnny a new generation of fans. Cash and Rubin team up again in 1996 to record the album Unchained, which finds Johnny collaborating with Tom Petty, Flea, Mick Fleetwood and Lindsay Buckingham. The album wins a Grammy award for best country album.
1997: Cash’s health takes a tur...
1997: Cash’s health takes a turn for the worse, as he is diagnosed with Shy-Drager syndrome, a neurodegenerative disease related to diabetes. That same year, the singer publishes his second memoir, simply titled Cash: The Autobiography.
October 2000: Cash releases American ...
October 2000: Cash releases American III: Solitary Man, his third album with Rick Rubin, featuring covers of songs by Tom Petty, U2 and Nick Cave. Cash’s cover of Neil Diamond's "Solitary Man” from the album wins the Grammy for best country male vocal performance.
November 2002: Cash releases ‘Ameri...
November 2002: Cash releases ‘American IV: The Man Comes Around,’ his most commercially successful album in the American series. His cover of Nine Inch Nails’ "Hurt" becomes the album’s biggest hit. The haunting video, directed by Mark Romanek, receives seven nominations at that year’s MTV Video Music Awards and wins for Best Cinematography. “Hurt” also wins a Grammy for Best Short Form Video and a CMA Award for video of the year.
May 7, 2003: June Carter undergoes he...
May 7, 2003: June Carter undergoes heart valve replacement surgery. At first, the operation appears to be a success. But on May 15, unexpected complications arise and she dies at the age of 73 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Sept. 12, 2003: Four months after Jun...
Sept. 12, 2003: Four months after June’s passing, Johnny dies of complications from diabetes at the age of 71. He is buried next to June in Hendersonville, Tennessee.
Nov. 18, 2005: ‘Walk the Line,’ a...
Nov. 18, 2005: ‘Walk the Line,’ a biopic about the life and music of Johnny and June, is released to critical and commercial acclaim. The film features Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor) and Reese Witherspoon as June (for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress). Phoenix and Witherspoon also win the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy, respectively.
July 4, 2006: ‘American V: A Hundre...
July 4, 2006: ‘American V: A Hundred Highways,’ one of of Cash's final collaborations with producer Rick Rubin, is released posthumously. The album debuts at no. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. On February 23, 2010, three days before what would have been Cash's 78th birthday, the Cash Family, Rick Rubin, and Lost Highway Records released his second posthumous record, titled ‘American VI: Ain't No Grave,’ which debuts at no. 3 on the Billboard 200.