Johnny Cash Museum unveils rare artefact commemorating first #1 'I Walk the Line'

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The Johnny Cash Museum premiered an artifact today that has never previously been on public display despite being presented to Johnny Cash more than six decades ago.
The unveiling of this rare artifact – Johnny Cash’s very first gold record – was released today to commemorate Cash’s first #1 I Walk the Line on what is the anniversary of the song’s release on Sun Records on May 1, 1956.
Johnny’s siblings Tommy Cash and Joanne Cash-Yates joined Sam Phillips’ son Jerry Phillips on site today as the award finally found a permanent home on exhibition at the museum, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.
In a ceremony hosted by WSM’s Bill Cody, Johnny Cash’s first ever gold record, originally presented to Johnny Cash by Sam Phillips in 1956, was reunited with the Cash family for the first time in over a decade.
The cherished award remained in Cash’s possession until his death in 2003, at which time it was auctioned off to several different private owners over the years.
Recently, museum founder Bill Miller learned that the record was in Germany in the hands of a private collector. Says Miller, “This is a piece we had to acquire—-at any price—-and return to its proper place, which is the Johnny Cash Museum. I held this award in my hands during my last visit with Johnny in early September in 2003. I feel good that it’s in my hands again, this time for all the world to see and enjoy.”

I Walk the Line remained on the Billboard charts for 43 weeks.  Cash was inspired to write the melody of the song after hearing a reel-to-reel tape record during his Air Force days in Germany with what he thought were interesting chord changes.
It turned out the reel had gotten turned around and all the chords were being played backwards. The strange, haunting sound inspired the melody to “I Walk the Line” which Cash wrote several years later, backstage before a show in Texas in 1956.
The song would become an American music standard and be credited with numerous accolades:
  • Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts selected it among the 365 titles chosen as“Songs of the Century.”
  • In 2000, NPR ranked it among the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th Century.
  • CMT included the recording in its list of the “100 Greatest Songs of Country Music.
  • In 2014, Rolling Stone ranks it as #1 on its list of the “100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time”
  • RIAA Double Platinum selling single with more than 2 million copies sold
Fans can view the article on display at the museum which is open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM CT.

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