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Digital Subscriptions > Country Music > Apr/May 2019 > JOHNNY CASH MAKES HIS MARK

JOHNNY CASH MAKES HIS MARK

Right from his 1955 debut with Sun Records, Johnny Cash templated a style and sound that still rules over country music. But it could have been very different…
The late, great Johnny Cash (1932-2003)
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty

Call it ‘right place, right time’. More likely a ‘Midas touch’. But Sam Phillips in the 1950s, in his now fabled Sun Studios in Memphis, was more than adept at taking rough diamonds and turning them into the most treasured musical gems. He did it with a young Elvis Presley, likewise the phenomenally-talented Carl Perkins, and the wild, precocious piano-poundin’ Jerry Lee Lewis. Phillips was broad-minded: early on, he’d taken on and championed unsigned bluesmen BB King and Howlin’ Wolf.

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