JOHN R. CASH BIOGRAPHY
Born Feb. 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Ark., Johnny Cash was born John R. Cash, one of seven children belonging to Ray and Carrie Rivers Cash. When John was 3 years old, his father took advantage of a new Roosevelt farm program and moved his young family to Dyess Colony in northeast Arkansas. There the Cash family farmed 20 acres of cotton and other seasonal crops, and young John worked alongside his parents and siblings in the fields.
Music was an integral part of everyday life in the Cash household. John soaked up a variety of musical influences ranging from his mother's folk songs and hymns to the work songs from the fields and nearby railroad yards. He absorbed these sounds like sponge absorbs water. In later years Cash would draw from his life in Arkansas for inspiration: "Pickin' Time," "Five Feet High and Rising" and "Look at Them Beans" are all reflections on Cash's early life.
Cash remained in Dyess Colony until his graduation from high school in 1950. As a young man he set off for Detroit in search of work. He ended up in Pontiac, Mich., and took work in an automotive plant. His tenure in the North Country was short-lived and Cash soon enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. After basic training in Texas (where he met first wife Vivian Liberto), he was shipped to Landsberg, Germany. While in the service Cash organized his first band, the Landsberg Barbarians.