Viral news coming out of Arkansas where a water tower that features a painting of Johnny Cash is making rounds after it was damaged by gunfire.
It’s not the defacing that is pushing this story to go viral. Instead, it’s where the shot landed that has individuals talking. The gunshot hit the wall painting of Johnny Cash exactly in the crotch region, making water from the tower spray out.
The water tower is apparently as of yet still leaking as teams work to fix it. Authorities in Kingsland, the birthplace of Johnny, donated $300,000 last year to refurbish the water tower. Police have not made any arrests for the situation or said why the wall painting was vandalized in the first place.
For the youngsters out there who don’t know anything about Johnny Cash, don’t worry! You’ll get a mini lesson about this music legend today.
We take it far back, in 1954 to be exact, where Johnny Cash and Vivian (who he married on August 7, 1954) moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he would sell appliances while studying to become a radio announcer. During the evening he’d play the guitar with Luther Perkins and Base Marshall Grant. The pair were known as the Tennessee Two. Later, Johnny amassed enough courage to visit the Sun Records studio where he hoped to get a recording contract. He played for Sam Phillips by singing mostly worship songs. That’s when he realized the producer was no longer recording gospel type music. Learning this, Johnny changed his style and eventually won over the producer with his rockabilly style. By 1955, he had his first recordings done at Sun, “Cry! Cry! Cry!” along with “Hey Porter”, which were both released late June.
In 1958, he left Phillips to sign a new offer with Columbia Records. He then wrote a single called “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town”, which jumped its way to one of his biggest hits. During this time he also composed a collection of gospel songs for his second album, but left behind a backlog of recordings with Sun that Phillips continued to release.
This brings us to the late 1950s where he played his first famous concert in a prison at San Quentin State Prison. He continued playing concerts in prisons leading to a pair of highly successful albums, ‘Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison’ and ‘Johnny Cash at San Quentin’. Both live albums jumped to number one on Billboard country album music. It wasn’t too long after that when Cash became an international hit. He even took over The Beatles in terms of sales, selling 6.5 million albums. Throughout the years he continued writing songs and even began to appear on TV starting with Pete Seeger’s TV show, Rainbow Quest in 1965, and even having his own show called The Johnny Cash Show which aired from June 1969 to 1971.
He even used his stardom and status to bring awareness to issues concerning the Native American people. Cash would sing songs about the indigenous humanity as an effort to confront the U.S. gov. Eventually, he was dropped from Columbia Records and after a rough patch he was able to get another chart hit from 1991 where his career was refreshed in the 1990’s, where he’d be involved in less than major label opportunities such as American Recordings from 1994 which he recorded in his living room.
He has so much more that he’s accomplished and was truly well known for his country music, but in 1997 Cash was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease Shy – Drager syndrome. Soon after, he was told he had around 18 months to live. The diagnosis was changed a few times and ended on autonomic neuropathy which was associated with diabetes.
Johnny continued to create music until right before his death, and while being hospitalized at Baptist Hospital in Nashville. Sadly, he passed of complications from diabetes on September 12, 2003 at the age of 71, and was buried next to his wife at Hendersonville Memory Gardens close to his home in Hendersonville, Tennessee.