After his discharge in 1954, Cash returned stateside and married Liberto. He and his new bride soon settled in Memphis where Cash worked a variety of jobs -- including that of appliance salesman -- while trying to break into the music business.
In 1954, Cash auditioned as solo artist for Sam Phillips' Sun Records. He entertained hopes of recording gospel music for the label, but Phillips immediately nixed that idea. By the following spring, though, Cash was in the Sun Studios to record with his band The Tennessee Three. The original group consisted of guitarist Luther Perkins, bass player Marshall Grant and Red Kernodle on pedal steel. Kernodle bailed out of the session and Cash's first release for the label, "Hey Porter" had a sparse, but highly effective instrumental accompaniment. Though an impressive single, the song failed to chart.
Cash's follow-up release for Sun, however, fared substantially better. "Cry, Cry, Cry" managed to crack Billboard's Top 20, peaking at No. 14. A long succession of chart singles followed. "So Doggone Lonesome" and "Folsom Prison Blues" both broke into the trade publication's Top 10.
But Cash's fourth chart single proved to be his career song. "I Walk the Line" shot to Billboard's No. 1 position and remained on the record charts for an incredible 43 weeks, ultimately selling over 2 million copies.