With the tenth anniversary of the passing of Johnny Cash approaching, the new illustrated biography LIFE Unseen: Johnny Cash and accompanying music collection LIFE Unheard: Johnny Cash have been released today, August 13, to celebrate the life of the country legend. Here is an excerpt:
Almost as soon as LIFE’s editors started sifting through the Sony archive, we realized that we had to go further to produce something that wasn’t simply a scrapbook but was, in fact, truly special: the whole big picture. Sony owned copies of some images you certainly do know: the famous silhouette shot from the cover of the classic At San Quentin album, for instance. We knew we needed to include such photography, and the Million Dollar Quartet picture from Sun Studio in Memphis, to keep the story flowing. There were clues in the archive: credit lines of talented photographers known to us for decades. And so, for instance, we approached the folks at Him Marshall Photography, and sure enough, they found the John and Bob Dylan shot that we knew had to exist somewhere. We went to the House of Cash and obtained some of the family’s material; and to fill out the early, pre-Columbia years, we found a collection at Arkansas State University. So, yes: There is material here that has been published before. But even so, most of what you encounter will be new to you — fresh and alive.
… The folks at Sony clearly got us thinking actively, and apparently we got them thinking as well. The publication of this first LIFE Unseen book coincides with their release of the new album, Unheard Johnny Cash: yet more discoveries and rarities from a music archive that is, if anything, even richer than this photographic record. “Photographic record” sounds prosaic. Call it, instead, a treasure trove — a treasure trove that, until now, was carefully kept under wraps in New York City. We’re glad we found it. We think you will be, too.
Read more at TODAY.com.