Johnny Cash is a legend in country music, but his relationship with the Grand Ole Opry was not always smooth sailing. In fact, he was banned from the Opry for a period of time in the 1960s. The reasons for this ban have been the subject of much speculation and myth, but the truth behind the story is both surprising and revealing.
Cash’s relationship with the Opry started off strong in the 1950s. He made his Opry debut in 1956, and was quickly embraced by the country music establishment. But by the early 1960s, things had started to sour between Cash and the Opry’s management.
The turning point came in 1965, when Cash released his hit song “I Walk the Line.” The song’s distinctive rhythm and lyrics made it an instant classic, and it propelled Cash to new heights of fame and success. However, the song also marked a departure from the traditional country sound that had been the Opry’s bread and butter for decades.
According to legend, Cash was banned from the Opry because he kicked out the footlights during a performance. While this story has been repeated many times, it’s not entirely accurate. In reality, Cash was banned from the Opry in 1965 after he refused to change his style and conform to the Opry’s expectations.
The ban lasted for two years, during which time Cash continued to perform and record music outside of the Opry’s influence. When he was finally allowed back on the Opry stage in 1968, it was a triumphant return that cemented his status as a country music icon.
Looking back on the incident, it’s clear that Cash’s rebellion against the Opry was part of a larger shift in the music industry. The 1960s were a time of great change and experimentation in music, and Cash was one of many artists who pushed the boundaries of what was considered “country.”
Today, Cash’s legacy is secure as one of the most important figures in the history of country music. His ban from the Grand Ole Opry is just one chapter in a storied career that spanned decades and inspired countless artists.
Despite the apology and plea from Cash, the Grand Ole Opry was not willing to lift the ban. However, this did not stop Cash from achieving further success and fame. He continued to make music and tour, even branching out into television and film.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Cash’s popularity reached new heights, with hit songs like “A Boy Named Sue” and “Man in Black”. He also hosted his own television show, “The Johnny Cash Show”, which featured a mix of musical performances and interviews with popular artists.
While the ban from the Grand Ole Opry was a setback for Cash, it did not define his career. He remained a beloved and influential figure in the world of country music until his death in 2003. In fact, in 1980, he was finally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest country music artists of all time.
Looking back, it is clear that the incident at the Grand Ole Opry was a pivotal moment in Cash’s career. It forced him to confront his demons and make changes in his personal life, and it ultimately led to some of his greatest musical accomplishments.