Remembering Johnny Cash: 7 Things You May Not Know About Him

Remembering Johnny Cash: 7 Things You May Not Know About Him

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone

Today marks the 15th anniversary of a sad day in the history of country music: the death of Johnny Cash. The legendary singer passed away on Sept. 12th in 2003, of complications from diabetes; he was 71.

Here are a few things about the Country Music Icon that you may or may not know:

1. He was once hospitalized by an ostrich.

By the time Johnny Cash was in his fifties he was successful enough to own a private ranch in Henderson, Tennessee in which he kept, amongst other things, ostriches. One day, a male ostrich kicked him in the chest, leaving him in intensive care with 5 broken ribs and internal bleeding. It was after this visit to hospital that Johnny became addicted to morphine, after having been prescribed it for his injuries.

2. President Jimmy Carter was his cousin.

Johnny became a cousin by marriage to future President Jimmy Carter, who himself was a distant cousin of June Carter. When they met they became friends and remained so throughout their lives.

3. He was the first person to ever be sued by the U.S. for starting a forest fire.

Johnny had a camper-van (called Jesse James) which he would drive into the desert. He painted the windows black so he could sleep during the day, but unfortunately an oil leak from the van set the Los Padres National Wildlife Refuge on fire, destroying acres of trees and killing all but nine of the endangered condors that lived in the reserve and was subsequently successfully sued by the government for starting the fire.

4. He once released 500 baby chickens into a hotel while on tour.

Johnny was a rebel in his younger days, and along with his band The Tennessee Three, liked to cause havoc in hotels and clubs throughout America during the 50’s. He once bought 500 baby chickens and released 100 on each floor of the hotel he was staying in…just for fun.

5. The scar on his face was from a surgical operation gone wrong.

While Johnny was in the Air Force. he had a cyst on his face removed from the right side of his face. The surgeon who was removing a cyst from his face screwed up the procedure, and according to some, may have even been drunk.

6. He could translate Russian Morse Code.

Johnny Cash wasn’t only a great singer, songwriter and guitarist, as random as it may seem, he actually knew how to translate Russian Morse Code thanks to time spend at an air force base in Germany.

Rita Ballou

September 12th, 2018

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