'Man in Black' Johnny Cash Left a Legacy of $60 Million and a Ton of Evergreen Songs

'Man in Black' Johnny Cash Left a Legacy of $60 Million and a Ton of Evergreen Songs
Jan Olofsson/Redferns/ Getty Images

Johnny Cash was an iconic figure in country music, renowned as a singer-songwriter. Together with his wife June the couple dominated the country music domain for many years. His distinctive persona included the outlaw image and his trademark all-black attire portrayed in his song 'Man in Black'. Another song closely associated with Cash was "Folsom Prison Blues," initially recorded in 1955 and notably performed at Folsom State Prison in California.

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At the point of his demise, factoring in inflation, Johnny Cash, the renowned American vocalist, and songwriter, possessed a net worth of $60 million as per Celebrity Net Worth. The couple's fortune was estimated to be worth $80 million at the time of their death. They died four months apart in 2003. The journey of Johnny Cash included selling more than 90 million records globally, solidifying his position among the top-selling musicians in history. After the tragic death of the duo in 2003, the estate passed on to their son John along with the publishing rights to his famous song 'Ring of fire'.

Image Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Image Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Born on February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, J. R. Cash grew up working in cotton fields with six siblings. His family's struggles during the Great Depression inspired his later songs. He discovered Gospel music and learned to play guitar as a young boy. In high school, he sang on a local radio station, and at 18, he joined the U.S. Air Force. Cash served in West Germany, intercepting Soviet transmissions while starting a band. After four years, he left as a staff sergeant.

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Following his Air Force departure in 1954, Cash relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. Initially, he sold appliances and aimed for a radio announcer role, yet he swiftly shifted towards his genuine love: music. Cash eventually tried out for Sam Phillips at Sun Records, but was rejected due to the waning popularity of his Gospel style. Undeterred, he soon reappeared with pioneering Rockabilly creations, such as "Hey Porter" and "Cry, Cry, Cry!" These tracks marked the commencement of Johnny Cash's journey in the music industry.

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Image Source: Galit Rodan/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Image Source: Galit Rodan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

After "I Walk the Line's" success, Cash solidified his reputation with "Home of the Blues." Tensions at Sun Records led him to leave in 1958 for Columbia Records. His hit "Don't Take Your Guns to Town" followed. He gained creative freedom for a Gospel album. Both Sun and Columbia released successful tracks. Cash's black attire and signature intro, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash," defined his memorable touring years.

Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

 

Cash battled addiction, creating hits like "Ring of Fire." He accidentally triggered a large forest fire. Settling a 1965 lawsuit cost him around $80,000.

In 1983, Cash's drug addiction resurfaced after an ostrich kick that led to a painkiller use. He battled addiction in rehab for a decade, relapsing multiple times. In 1988, he underwent heart surgery, avoiding painkillers due to drug issues. By the 90s, he gained traction with younger audiences. Punk bands covered his songs, and he collaborated with U2.

Image Source: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Image Source: Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

 

In 1997, Johnny collapsed on the stage and later received a diagnosis of Shy-Drager syndrome, a neurodegenerative disease. It caused health issues, including pneumonia hospitalization. He was given just 18 months to live. Despite the condition, the 'Man in Black' continued his music, releasing albums in the early 2000s. "American IV – The Man Comes Around" in 2002 featured covers of songs like Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" and Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt." Tragically, June Carter Cash, his beloved, passed away on May 13, 2003, at 73 years old. June's death broke his heart and the legend, too, left the world of music on September 12, 2003, less than four months after her demise.

Johnny Cash and his then-wife Vivian bought a 6-acre property in California in the 1960s. After divorcing in 1966, Vivian sold it in the early 1970s. In 1968, Johnny married June Carter Cash and acquired a lakefront property near Nashville with a 14,000-square-foot mansion. They lived there until their deaths in 2003.

Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees purchased the property in 2005 for $2.3 million, planning a recording studio. A 2007 fire destroyed the mansion but spared other structures. The property sold for $2 million in 2014 and again in 2020 for $3.2 million to a local couple.



 

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