Johnny Cash, one of the most important, influential and respected artists in the history of recorded music, was honored Saturday, Feb. 26 with the unveiling of a new “Tennessee Music Pathways” marker. Representatives, friends and family of Cash, and city and state officials gathered on Main Street in Hendersonville at HALO Realty, the original site of the House of Cash music publishing company, to celebrate the milestone achievement on what would have been the singer's 90th birthday.
“Having lived in Hendersonville my whole life, I am grateful and indebted to Tennessee for preserving critical music sites and noting the former House of Cash building as one of those,” said John Carter Cash. “In the early 1970s, this building housed my father’s recording studio. He made hundreds of historical recordings here. I remember sitting on his lap and recording a song with him when I was no more than 4 years old. Later, it became the Johnny Cash Museum, bringing hundreds of thousands of visitors to Sumner County. On behalf of the John R Cash Revocable Trust and the rest of my family, we look forward to further working with the state to develop additional locations so that fans of music and students of history alike can continue to learn about my father, Johnny Cash.”
“When the idea of the Tennessee Music Pathways came about, it was artists like Johnny Cash that helped to lay the foundation of this statewide initiative,” said Tennessee Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Mark Ezell. “From Memphis, Nashville, Hendersonville, Bristol and more, Johnny Cash helped shape Tennessee’s rich music history across the state and we are so grateful to celebrate him and his great contributions to music.”
Transcending labels, genres and eras, Johnny Cash's music drew from country, folk, rockabilly, gospel, pop and blues. Over a six-decade career, he constantly reinvented himself, becoming one of the most celebrated artists in American music.
Cash made his home in Hendersonville with his wife, June Carter Cash, for 35 years. Roy Orbison and Marty Stuart were close neighbors to the Cash home, which Stuart once called the “Graceland of Country Music.” Celebrities and entertainers were regular guests at their lakefront home, which burned in 2007. Visitors come from all over the world to pay their respects to one of music's greatest love stories at Hendersonville Memory Gardens.
Born in Kingsland, Arkansas, Feb. 26, 1932, Cash joined the Air Force in 1950 and moved to Memphis upon his discharge in 1954. Signed to Sun Records in Memphis in 1955, he broke through with "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Walk the Line."
After signing with Columbia in 1958, Cash and his family moved to California, but most of his subsequent recordings were made in Nashville. His late 50s and early 60s hits included “Don't Take Your Guns to Town,” “Ring of Fire,” “Five Feet High and Rising” and many more.
In 1966, with his first marriage ending, Cash moved to Nashville. Later that year, he and Waylon Jennings rented an apartment. Then, in the spring of 1967, Cash viewed a then-unfinished house at 200 Caudill Drive in Hendersonville, facing Old Hickory Lake. The builder, Braxton Dixon, intended to live there, but Cash persuaded Dixon to finish it for him.
That spring, Cash began dating June Carter, and they partnered on “Jackson,” a No. 2 country hit. On Jan. 13, 1968, Cash and Carter performed at Folsom Prison in California, and the resulting album became the top-selling country album of all time. On March 1, 1968, Cash and Carter married and moved into the house on Caudill Drive.
In April 1969, Cash began shooting his popular ABC-TV series “The Johnny Cash Show” in Nashville, and his album from a February show at San Quentin Prison ranked among the bestselling albums of the year.
In January 1969, Cash and Carter purchased the Plantation Dinner Theater at 700 East Main Street in Hendersonville, converting it into a recording studio and office suite for the House of Cash music publishing company. Later, it became Johnny Cash Museum. In April 1979, Cash and Carter were given the Amqui train station in Madison, Tennessee, and it was transported to the grounds of House of Cash to serve as a store. Cash's last and highly regarded music video “Hurt” was shot at House of Cash and the Caudill Drive residence.
Johnny Cash and June Carter lived in the house on Caudill Drive until Carter's death May 15, 2003, and Cash's death the following Sept. 12. They were interred at Hendersonville Memory Gardens.