Author's Note: I wrote this years ago. In ought six, five years ago, it was quite popular on the Internet. Before spell checkers suggested that I capitalize 'internet'. It was first published on a site known as Torrentspy, which was long ago shut down by a corporate lawsuit over piracy. The first paragraph of every reason was originally all there was to this article. The second is what I have added to it. I'm a much better writer now. I always regretted not taking more time with this list. I am now given the chance to do so. Enjoy.
Only one man who has ever lived has been bad enough to be called “The Man In Black” and it wasn’t Chuck Norris.
He wore black to relate to the poor and downtrodden. It wasn't a publicity stunt. He wasn't doing it to appeal to the hipster crowd and sell more records. He was doing it to stand up for his convictions. That's something even a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick couldn't knock down.
Johnny didn’t have to fight to be a bad ass. He just had to pick up a beer bottle and a guitar.
If he did have to fight, however, he might just bust that beer bottle and crack you over your skull with it. Then, no matter who won the fight, he would write a song about it and make millions. You would be immortalized. He would also buy you a beer for your troubles. Chuck has never shown such class.
Johnny hung out with the dredges of society. He made it a point to let the average Joe know that what he did, he did for him. In a sense, he never left the cotton farm he grew up on. Most people leave their childhood behind. Johnny was never ashamed of where he came from.
While burning down half a national forest is nothing to brag about, he was the first rock star to own his personal demons. Most kids nowadays think shit they do is cool. Johnny knew he was a bastard for it, but was not apologetic. Instead, he wrote songs to help others who might be going through the same thing.
Hard work is something many folks these days know nothing about. Can you imagine Lady Gaga having such a job? Or even Little Wayne? No? That's because they aren't real people. They are personas developed to sell records. Johnny was never anyone other than Johnny.
It must be noted that Johnny's long time wife, June, died a few months before he did. Some say he just couldn't live without her. No matter how many problems they went through, he knew what love was and knew what it was like to lose it. And it finally killed him. Not the drugs, not the alcohol, not the hard living, but the loss.
Would Johnny have been friends with Obama? Chances are they would have drank a beer together at least once. When this was first written, Bush was in office and Obama was a relative unknown outside of Illinois. Now that I have the chance to reflect, I think old Johnny would have had quite a time with Barack.
Johnny was invited to play the at White House in 1972 for Richard Nixon. He was given a list of politically correct songs to sing. He instead metaphorically threw up his middle finger at the establishment, in true jackass fashion, and sang a set full of left leaning, politically charged tunes. Chuck Norris has never told the president to fuck off in his own house.
Telling Johnny Cash what he could and couldn't sing was a sure fire way to get him to do just the opposite of what you wanted. Not many people these days have that kind of balls. He did the same thing at Folsom Prison. He never defied authority just for the sake of defying it, he did so out of moral obligation.
Chuck Norris made a lot of crappy movies. Johnny Cash never touched anything that didn’t turn to gold. In the 80’s, he made a song called “Chicken in Black” to get himself out of a record deal. Even that became popular.
Even years after his death Johnny is still one of the most popular artists of all time. Fifty years down the road, nothing will change. I would like to see Kesha or Justin Bieber try to pull a stunt like 'Chicken in Black' and see where it gets them. The answer is nowhere. For Johnny, people didn't care. They loved him not for videos, but for his music. Which is how it should be.
Johnny is the only man in history to decline painkillers after a double bypass heart surgery. He knew he liked drugs too god damn much and wouldn’t stop. That shows power over an addiction previously not seen before. Kicking a ninja’s ass is easy compared to kicking a drug’s ass.
The only thing that can truly kill a man is losing a good woman. There is no shame in it. Johnny was the type of man they don't make anymore. It would do the rest of us well to take from his example and live our lives with the type of passion he did.
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