Johnny Cash
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Johnny Cash : The Life

4.24 (2,061 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'Johnny Cash ... Every man could relate to him, no man could be him, and only one man could get inside his head - Robert Hilburn' BONO

People don't just listen to Johnny Cash: they believe in him. But no one has told the Man in Black's full story, until now.

In Johnny Cash: The Life, Robert Hilburn conveys the unvarnished truth about a musical icon, whose colourful career stretched from his days at Sun Records with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to his remarkable, brave and deeply moving 'Hurt' video, aged sixty-nine. As music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Hilburn knew Cash well throughout his life: he was the only music journalist at the legendary Folsom Prison concert in 1968, and he interviewed Cash and his wife June Carter for the final time just months before their deaths in 2003. Hilburn's rich reporting shows the remarkable highs and deep lows that followed and haunted Cash in equal measure. A man of great faith and humbling addiction, Cash aimed for more than another hit for the jukebox; he wanted his music to lift people's spirits.

Drawing upon his personal experience with Cash and a trove of never-before-seen material from the singer's inner circle, Hilburn creates an utterly compelling, deeply human portrait of one of the most iconic figures in modern popular culture - not only a towering figure in country music, but also a seminal influence in rock, whose personal life was far more troubled, and whose musical and lyrical artistry much more profound, than even his most devoted fans ever realised.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 688 pages
  • 133 x 199 x 43mm | 528g
  • WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Digital original
  • photos on 16 plates
  • 1780220952
  • 9781780220956
  • 118,812

Review Text

Johnny Cash was a man both extraordinary and ordinary. Every man could relate to him, no man could be him, and only one man could get inside his head: Robert Hilburn Bono
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Review quote

Superb -- Will Hodgkinson * The Times * There is madness aplenty in this excellent life of the turbulent Johnny Cash -- Rod Liddle * Sunday Times * A moving, respectful and sympathetic biography -- Alan Taylor * Sunday Herald * Hilburn displays a quite remarkable empathy with his subject and his writing style is highly readable and totally gripping. The book has just been published in the UK and is surely a must for any serious country music buff -- David Alan * Country Music People * Robert Hilburn has written a magnificent biography * BBC Radio 4 Front Row * With straightforward prose, and through years of meticulous research, Robert Hilburn unravels the sometimes dark and magical life of one of music's greatest legends. Oftentimes this is a chronicle of pain, whether Hilburn is detailing Cash's early loss of his beloved brother, or the anguish he talked to Rick Rubin about feeling upon the death of wife June, but Hilburn gives much insight into what drove Cash's work. This is a harrowing story of addiction, musical genius, and enduring faith that goes far deeper than any film biopic ever will. In the end, Hilburn has achieved what is most certainly the definitive Johnny Cash biography -- Charles R. Cross, author of Heavier Than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain Hilburn has pulled off the rare feat of making the dispassionate truth more extraordinary than the myth -- Andy Fyfe * Mojo * How do you write an interesting biography of such a beloved figure? First, hire Robert Hilburn. He is a prodigious researcher, but keeps a steady hand on the tiller, and never allows his research to swamp his narrative. He knows his music and music history, but unlike far too many music critics, he avoids the temptation to show off * The Economist * Rock biographies can feel like they are ten-a-penny so it is a refreshing change to read a meaty no-holds barred, non-sycophantic record of legendary Man in Black Johnny Cash ... The wealth of detail on every page, in ever incident of Cash's life (1932-2002) is both impressive and a joy to read. Unlike so many biographies that are reported incidents jigsawed together, this is almost an eyewitness account with not always favourable opinions, perfecting its colour and gravitas -- Nicole Carmichael * Sunday Express * A warts-and-all biography follows Johnny Cash, a rebel and outsider, from one drama to the next. It's a must-read -- Will Hodgkinson * The Times * Hilburn's biography has the sort of immense scope and tremendous insight that comes from years of interviewing such a truthful, troubling subject -- Rob Fitzpatrick * Sunday Times * [T]he most authoritative and revealing portrait to date of the most chronicled figure in country-music history ... [a] finely wrought biography -- Eddie Dean * Wall Street Journal Europe * Johnny Cash and Robert Hilburn are two of the true blessings of my life. Both the best at what they do and each a gifted artist. It's a killer combination -- Kris Kristofferson A great story requires great storytelling, and that's exactly what it receives here. Ultimately, Robert Hilburn's biography uncannily resembles its subject: massive and stolid, but with a dangerous glint in its eye -- Charles Shaar Murray * Literary Review * Robert Hilburn displays a deeply felt affinity with his subject, illuminating Johnny Cash as the moral compass of country music -- Patti Smith Johnny Cash was a man both extraordinary and ordinary. Every man could relate to him, no man could be him, and only one man could get inside his head: Robert Hilburn -- Bono
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About Robert Hilburn

Robert Hilburn was a music critic and pop music editor for the Los Angeles Times for more than three decades, and has worked closely with all-time greats Elton John, Bono, Michael Jackson, John Lennon and Johnny Cash.


Visit Robert Hilburn's website at www.roberthilburnonline.com and follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/roberthilburn.
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Rating details

2,061 ratings
4.24 out of 5 stars
5 45% (920)
4 39% (799)
3 14% (282)
2 2% (49)
1 1% (11)
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