Johnny Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003), born J. R. Cash, was an American singer-songwriter, actor, author, and Biblical scholar, who was one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Although he is primarily remembered as a country music artist, his songs and sound spanned many other genres including rockabilly and rock and roll—especially early in his career—as well as blues, folk, and gospel. Late in his career, Cash covered songs by several rock artists, among them the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails.
Cash was known for his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice; for the "boom-chicka-boom" freight train sound of his Tennessee Three backing band; for his demeanor; and for his dark clothing, which earned him the nickname, "The Man in Black". He traditionally started his concerts by saying, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash."
Much of Cash's music, especially that of his later career, echoed themes of sorrow, moral tribulation and redemption. His signature songs include "I Walk the Line", "Folsom Prison Blues", "Ring of Fire", "Get Rhythm" and "Man in Black". He also recorded humorous numbers, such as "One Piece at a Time" and "A Boy Named Sue", a duet with future wife June Carter called "Jackson", as well as railroad songs including "Hey Porter" and "Rock Island Line".
Cash, a devout but troubled Christian, has been characterized "as a lens through which to view American contradictions and challenges." A Biblical scholar, he penned a Christian novel entitled Man In White, and he recited the entire New King James Version of the New Testament on a spoken word recording.