NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Johnny Cash Museum premiered Johnny Cash’s very first gold record to commemorate Cash’s first No. 1 “I Walk the Line” on what is the anniversary of the song’s release on Sun Records on May 1, 1956. The artifact has never previously been on public display despite being presented to Johnny Cash more than six decades ago.
Johnny’s siblings Tommy Cash and Joanne Cash-Yates joined Sam Phillips’ son Jerry Phillips on site as the award finally found a permanent home on exhibition at the museum, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary in 2018.
In a ceremony hosted by WSM’s Bill Cody, Johnny Cash’s first ever gold record, originally presented to Johnny Cash by Sam Phillips in 1956, was reunited with the Cash family for the first time in more than 10 years. The cherished award remained in Cash’s possession until his death in 2003, at which time it was auctioned off to several different private owners over the years. Recently, museum founder Bill Miller learned that the record was in Germany in the hands of a private collector.
“I Walk the Line” remained on the Billboard charts for 43 weeks. Cash was inspired to write the melody of the song after hearing a reel-to-reel tape record during his Air Force days in Germany with what he thought were interesting chord changes. It turned out the reel had gotten turned around and all the chords were being played backwards. The strange, haunting sound inspired the melody to “I Walk the Line” which Cash wrote several years later, backstage before a show in Texas in 1956.
The song would become an American music standard and be credited with numerous accolades:
• Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts selected it among the 365 titles chosen as “Songs of the Century.”
• In 2000, NPR ranked it among the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th Century.
• CMT included the recording in its list of the “100 Greatest Songs of Country Music.
• In 2014, Rolling Stone ranks it as No. 1 on its list of the “100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time”
• RIAA Double Platinum selling single with more than 2 million copies sold
Fans can view the article on display at the museum which is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Photo credit: The Johnny Cash Museum Archive
About The Johnny Cash Museum
Earning the AAA Gem rating, The Johnny Cash Museum experience has quickly spread around the globe with outlets like CNN, USA Today, Parade, The NY Times, The NY Post, Billboard, Vogue, Southern Living, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, Yahoo, Huffington Post, London’s NME, etc. all buzzing about the attraction. You never know who you will see at the museum as celebrities like Former VP and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore, CMT Nashville cast members, Dancing with the Stars Val Chmerkovskiy, Weezer, The Oak Ridge Boys and American Pickers’ Mike Wolfe have all been spotted at the attraction. Located at 119 Third Avenue South between Demonbreun and Broadway, the Johnny Cash Museum is open every day from 9 AM to 6 PM CT. General admission is $19.95 with discounts for AAA, military, senior citizen and youth (6-15). Since opening its doors in April 2013, The Johnny Cash Museum has expanded twice adding a café and additional exhibition space. The latest wing of exhibits profile “Walk the Line: The Carter Family and Cash Covers” in addition to green screen technologies that enable fans to get a picture with Johnny Cash.