Johnny Cash Museum Unveils ‘I Walk the Line’ Gold Record On Anniversary

Cash’s first #1 I Walk the Line
Sun Records Sam Phillips presenting Johnny Cash with his first Gold Record for I Walk the Line – Credit: Johnny Cash Museum Archive

The Johnny Cash Museum premiered a special artifact today that has never previously been on public display despite being presented to Johnny Cash more than six decades ago.

Johnny Cash’s very first gold record 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 the site of the museum today as the award finally found a permanent home on exhibition at the museum, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.

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.

Johnny Cash at Town Hall Party in 1958 singing “I Walk The Line”

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