Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On This Day: Johnny Cash Was Born

I was reading an interview with Rick Rubin in Performing Songwriter magazine and they asked him:

 Q:In the case of something like “Hurt,” which he viewed as an anti-drug song, did he consciously try to maneuver the song in a direction different from its original intent? I don’t mean in a completely different direction necessarily, but it seems that he was gifted at imbuing things with a multiplicity of meaning.

A:Well, I think he tried to make them all his own. He would read them, and I don’t think he was especially concerned with what the writer’s original intention was. It was a question of, “How does this song hit me, and how can convey that mood or the emotion that I feel in my version of the song? He was really a master at taking a song—even a song you might’ve heard many times in your life—and imbuing it with a kind of storyteller mentality. Again, even if you had heard a particular song your whole life, when he sang it, all of a sudden you understood it, or thought about the words in a different way, or you took the song more seriously.
    There are lots of examples of that, but one example, for me, is “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” I’ve heard that song my whole life, but until Johnny sang it, I never thought about what it meant. All of a sudden the words took on a whole new seriousness when he sang them. Some people have said they felt that way about “One”—the U2 song. They’ve said that when Johnny sang it, the words rang true in a way that was different from what they had heard before.

Johnny Cash would have turned 81 today.

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