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Man in Black
US
1971
Edition details
  • LP
Catalog Number
  • C 30550
Image
Label
  • Columbia
Information
  • At some point, most artists in the music industry who make big are given some sort of honorific nickname, usually considered the "king," "queen," or "godfather" of a particular genre.  However, though Cash is certainly worthy of such a title, calling him the "king" just doesn't fit; after all, he is a champion of the underdog and the rebel.  If Cash were to go by any other name than Johnny, it would have to be honest, something both pure and dark.

    Cash had worn black for years in concert, but he didn't always give a reason behind his choice of clothes.  He even wrote that he would jokingly reply to reporters that he wore black to look skinny.  But when Cash wrote the song Man in Black he did have a meaning and message in mind: a message against war; a message for peace and love and charity. He first performed the song live, on a special episode of The Johnny Cash Show that took place on a college campus.

    It became the title song for Cash's next album which skyrocketed to number 1 on the country charts and reached number 56 on the pop charts when it was released.  The single Man in Black reached number 3 on the country charts and number 58 on the pop charts; the b-side, Singin' in Vietnam Talkin' Blues--a both protesting Vietnam and supporting the troops fighting--reached 18 on the country charts.

    Billy Graham lends his voice to the first track, complimenting Cash's singing in a question/answer style.  Other songs like Orphan of the Road and Ned Kelly pay tribute to outcasts and outlaws, and the material branches out to love songs, gospel and, most notably, the protest songs. 

    The album's liner notes by Cash are especially memorable; Cash writes dialouge between a reporter and himself about his ever-changing nature, how he will continue to change from day to day as new developments shape his views.  He concludes, "So here is an album that we've recordeed in the last few days.  The product of change.  From the happy, hard working J.C.A.T.

  • "

  • J.C.A.T.: Johnny Cash After Televison

    Reissue History for Man in Black:

    1. Reissued on CD by Reader's Digest Music in 2010 on "The Great Seventies Recordings"

    2. Released for download by Columbia/Legacy in April of 2010.

    3. Reissued on CD by Sony UK in 2012 as part of the box set "Original Album Classics."  The CD is held inside a small replica of the oringinal vinyl case.

    4. Released on CD by Columbia/Legacy in 2012 on "The Complete Columbia Album Collection" with the disc housed in a cardboard replica of the original album artwork.

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