Johnny Cash and also Elvis Presley were 2 of the developmental voices of rock "n" roll. Each embodied the heart of the genre, albeit in various ways. Cash come from a deeply spiritual background and rooted his sound in gospel, yet he also represented a darker, anti-establishment ethos. He often put forth an outlaw image, perhaps many famously v his track "Folsom jail Blues," which that performed because that the prison"s inmates in 1968. Presley also cut v the conventional mold that the "50s — both through his music, i beg your pardon was greatly influenced by black artists and labeled together rowdy and also rebellious; and his i know well gyrations, i beg your pardon were understood overly sexual.

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Both Cash and also Presley acquired started in Tennessee about the mid-1950s, and also they had musical friends and influences in common. It"s not also surprising, then, the their paths crossed several times. Throughout the decade, lock watched each various other perform, periodically on the very same bill, and occasionally together. They emerged a common admiration that would certainly last a lifetime, even after fame and fate sent out them their separate ways. Here"s an ext on the connections between the King and also the man in Black.


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706 Union avenue in Memphis, Tennessee marks the point out of what can be called the birthplace of absent "n" role — or, at least, the location that lugged rock "n" roll into the mainstream. According to The National, it all started in 1954, when a 19-year-old Elvis Presley carry out Arthur Crudup"s "That"s every Right" because that Sam Phillips, founder of sunlight Records. That very same year, Johnny Cash carry out gospel songs in one audition for Phillips, who told him to "go home and also sin, climate come ago with a track I can sell" (via sunlight Records). By the end of 1954, Presley and also Cash to be both signed to the label.


"I can"t to speak for sure what popular music music would sound like today without a Sun records in the "50s, yet there might not have actually been a Beatles or roll Stones," Sun records president man Singleton called The National. "I think it would certainly be tough to uncover a successful rock artist that was no a fan of Sun." an additional iconic figure in music, Bob Dylan, stated the label"s influence in his 2004 memoir, "Chronicles," writing, "I"d always thought that sun Records and Sam Phillips self ­created the most crucial, uplifting and powerful records ever before made."


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The first Elvis Presley "concert" Johnny Cash visited wasn"t exactly a sold-out stadium show. Presley to be performing from the flatbed of a truck to sing for a couple hundred human being at a drugstore opening. At the time, he had actually only exit one single, and was left v no choice but come play the same two song — his just songs — on a loop, every "Cash: The Autobiography" (via Elvis Australia). That was likewise the an initial time the pair met.


Presley invited Cash and his then-wife, Vivian, come his next present at the Eagle"s colony in Memphis, Tennessee, in July of 1954. "I mental Elvis" show at the Eagle"s colony as if were yesterday," Cash created in "Cash: The Autobiography." "The day was a blunder, because the location was an adult club where teenagers weren"t welcome, and also so Vivian and also I were 2 of just a dozen or therefore patrons, fifteen at the most. All the same, I thought Elvis was an excellent ... The didn"t say much. The didn"t have actually to, that course; his charisma alone retained everyone"s attention."

Cash detailed Presley"s outstanding rhythm guitar-playing, and the reality that Presley was never particularly known as a guitar player. In fact, Cash never ever heard everyone else worship Presley"s playing, nor did that recall ever before hearing the playing etc on his own records.


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Throughout his life, Johnny Cash feeling a details loyalty to the Elvis Presley the knew in the 1950s. He wrote in "Cash: The Autobiography" the he much desired Presley"s music once they an initial met end his popular later work, i m sorry Cash believed was overproduced. "My Elvis was the Elvis that the "50s," Cash created (via Elvis Australia). "He was a kid once I functioned with him. He was 19 years old, and he love cheeseburgers, girls, and also his mother, no necessarily in the order (it was more like his mother, then girls, then cheeseburgers) ... Personally, I preferred cheeseburgers and I had nothing versus his mother, however the girls were the thing. He had actually so countless girls after him the whenever he was working v us, there were always plenty left over. We had a lot of fun."


Presley, his rock "n" roll songs, and also his hip-shaking famously drew hordes of enthusiastic girls. Yet Cash emphasized in his biography the Presley"s stardom was built on an ext than sex appeal. "We had a many fun in general, not just with the girls," the wrote. "It to be nice the we could make a living at it, but every among us would have done it because that free. And also you know, Elvis was so good. Every show I did with him, I never missed the opportunity to was standing in the wings and watch. Us all did. That was that charismatic."


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In the mid-1950s, June Carter of the country trio The Carter sisters went ~ above tour with Elvis Presley. By then, Presley had befriended — and become a pan of — up-and-comer Johnny Cash. The King took to playing Cash"s music top top the road. In she 1987 autobiography, "From the Heart," Carter recalled a time once Presley to be trying to track his guitar and also sing Cash"s beforehand hit "Cry, Cry, Cry." "I don"t recognize this Johnny Cash," Carter recalled saying (via Express), to which Presley replied, "Oh you"ll know Cash. The whole human being will recognize Johnny Cash. He"s a friend of mine." throughout the tour, Presley proceeded come play Cash"s music on cafe jukeboxes.


In June 1956, Carter and Cash lastly met in ~ the cool Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. "Johnny Cash take it me by the hand and also said, "I"ve constantly wanted to meet you,"" Carter recalled (via Express). "The strangest feeling come over me. Ns was afraid to look the in the eyes. It was one of the points I go best. I never stammered and still discovered myself no able come say lot of anything. I think I finally blurted the end — "I feel choose I understand you already. Elvis plays you on the jukebox every the time and he can"t tune his etc without humming Cry, Cry, Cry. Currently he"s acquired me doing it.""


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In 2008, john Carter Cash, the boy of Johnny Cash and also June Carter, released the story "Anchored in Love: an Intimate Portrait of June Carter Cash." In the book, john addressed speculation the June may have had an affair with Elvis Presley. "Throughout my life, i would view Mom obtain a mischievous twinkle in her eye anytime she mentioned Elvis Presley," John wrote (via Express). "Her eyes would certainly flash merrily, and also she would say, "You know, son, her father was always jealous the Elvis" ... She also told me once that she periodically wondered what would have happened if she had fallen in love with Elvis."


Speaking to Express in 2020, john said, "My mommy had worked on the road with Elvis when she to be younger, so i heard a lot around him growing up." June toured with Presley in the mid-1950s, approximately the time Presley and also Johnny Cash signed to sunlight Records, met, and also became friends.

"Though Mom always maintained the she never had actually an affair through Elvis, Carl thought differently and also perhaps for good reason," John wrote in the biography. "After Carl moved out of their Madison home, mommy would periodically let Elvis stay at the house to "rest" after ~ a tour."


On December 4, 1956, singer-songwriter Carl Perkins top to Memphis" sunlight Studio because that a record session. A pre-fame Jerry Lee Lewis to be there on keys and, by pure coincidence, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash both stopped by the studio, every NJ Arts. The foursome play an apt, 23-song mix of gospel, bluegrass, and modern-day hits, consisting of Presley"s own "Love Me Tender" and also "Don"t it is in Cruel."


Recognizing the unusual, and also now historic, nature that this meeting of musical minds, Sun documents founder Sam Phillips alerted the Memphis Press-Scimitar. The paper ran the story the following day, finish with a photograph of the 4 musicians, captioned "The Million dollar Quartet."

"I was the very first to arrive and the critical to leave, contrary to what has been written," Cash wrote of the conference in his 1997 book "Cash: The Autobiography" (via Elvis Australia). "I was just there to watch Carl record, which the did till mid-afternoon, as soon as Elvis come in v his girlfriend. At that point the session stopped and also we all started laughing and cutting increase together. Climate Elvis sat under at the piano, and also we began singing gospel songs us all knew, then some Bill Monroe song ... So, again contrary to what some people have written, mine voice is on the tape. It"s not obvious, due to the fact that I was the furthest away indigenous the mike and also I was singing a lot greater than I usually did in bespeak to continue to be in crucial with Elvis, however I insurance you, I"m there."


In 1959, Johnny Cash opened up for Elvis Presley on a live tour. He started with a slapstick, hip-swiveling Elvis impression and a rendition of the King"s 1958 fight "Heartbreak Hotel." Then, when Presley would enter the stage, he would certainly take his rotate impersonating the guy in Black. Video footage that Cash"s Presley impression, in addition to audio recordings the Presley to sing Cash"s access time "Folsom jail Blues" and also "I to walk the Line," is easily accessible on YouTube.


Presley"s Cash impression supposedly traveled offstage and also on the road, according to lining Crisafulli and also George Klein"s 2010 book "Elvis: My finest Man: Radio Days, rock "n" roll Nights, and My Lifelong Friendship through Elvis Presley." during Presley"s 1957 tour, he was riding a train as soon as a teenage girl approached him, greeted him v an excited "Johnny Cash!", and also asked him to sing one of his – Cash"s — songs. "Elvis would never sing one of his very own songs in that kind of situation," Klein wrote, "but for this tiny Johnny Cash fan he dropped his voice to its shortest notes and started to sing a couple of lines that "Hey Porter," a song Cash had cut at sunlight that seemed especially suitable for a midnight train ride. The girl was thrilled, and also even finished up through an autograph indigenous Elvis, i beg your pardon read: "Best Wishes, Johnny Cash.""


The level of stardom the Elvis Presley skilled inevitably came v its re-publishing of scrutiny. And also although Presley was passionate to shiver his hips ~ above the world"s stage, he had actually a tough time v criticism of any kind of kind, and specifically the rumors about him using drugs, together Johnny Cash listed in "Cash: The Autobiography."


" was really sensitive, quickly hurt by the stories world told about him being on dope and so on," Cash composed (via Elvis Australia). "I myself couldn"t know why people wanted come say that earlier in the "50s, since in those days he was the last person on earth who needed dope. He had actually such a high energy level that it appeared he never ever stopped – though perhaps that"s why they claimed he was on dope. Either way, that wasn"t, or at least I never ever saw any kind of evidence that it. I never saw him use any kind of kind that drug, or also alcohol; that was constantly clear-headed around me, and really pleasant."

Cash self didn"t check out Presley as a "bad boy" or a controversial figure in ~ all. "Elvis to be such a quite guy, and also so talented and charismatic — he had actually it all — that some civilization just couldn"t take care of it and reacted with jealousy," Cash wrote. "It"s just human, i suppose, however it"s sad."


Beyond the 1950s, Elvis Presley and also Johnny Cash went their separate ways. "Elvis go on to make his films and also some more music later on and they never worked again with each other after the 1950s," Cash"s son, man Carter Cash, said Express in 2020.


"He and also I favored each other, however we weren"t that tight — i was older than he was, because that one thing, and also married, for an additional — and also we weren"t nearby at all in his later on years," Cash wrote in "Cash: The Autobiography" (via Elvis Australia). "I took the hint once he closed his world roughly him; i didn"t try to invade his privacy. I"m for this reason glad ns didn"t, either, because so plenty of of his old friends to be embarrassed therefore badly as soon as they were turned far at Graceland."

In the 1960s and "70s, Cash"s occasional interactions with Presley to be positive yet professional, and also conducted from a distance. "He and also I chatted ~ above the phone call a couple of times and swapped note now and again," Cash recalled in his book. "If he to be closing in ~ the ras Vegas Hilton together I was gaining ready to open, he"d great me luck, that kind of point — yet that was around the extent of it."


Elvis Presley died on respectable 16, 1977, at the period of 42. The December, Johnny Cash taped the Johnny Cash Christmas Special, which included an all-star tribute come the King. He to be joined by the other two members the "The Million-Dollar Quartet," Carl Perkins and also Jerry Lewis, and also fellow Sun records star Roy Orbison. "I worked my very very first concert together a guest, and also he to be a star," Cash claimed of Presley (via YouTube), "and he constantly was a star because all of us mental him, and also how he love gospel songs, and how we liked him. This tune is for Elvis." The group then carry out the gospel standard "This Train is Bound because that Glory" in Presley"s honor.

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The special likewise included performances of 3 songs that Presley had recorded, per Elvis Australia. Cash teamed up v the quartet The Statler brothers to perform "Blue Christmas," a tune Presley popularized in 1957. Perkins carry out "Blue Suede Shoes," which that wrote and also initially taped in 1955. Lewis perform "Whole Lotta Shakin" Goin" On," which he popularized in 1957 and Presley spanned in 1971.


Johnny Cash was well-known for transcending the limits of genre and also getting crowds — of civilization ranging from devout believer to jail inmates — on your feet. But by 1988, after three years of touring with plenty of rock "n" role icons, Cash had his own idea of i beg your pardon artist had the ideal stage presence: the King himself. "The finest performer probably was Elvis Presley," Cash said throughout a 1988 interview on The late Late Show. "I don"t think anybody could touch him. I never saw Hank Williams, that was among my favorites. That died prior to I ever before got to see him."


"He had actually a the majority of rhythm," Cash continued, referring to Presley. "He was a very good singer. And he was a fabulous show in the means he relocated the people. When he to be 19 years-old, that"s as soon as I toured through him at first. And also not just the girl loved Elvis. Yet every male backstage to be standing in the wing watching Elvis. He had actually that charisma, the magic the a good performer needs to obtain the people right there."


In the at an early stage 1970s, Johnny Cash remained in Las las vegas to pat a present while Elvis Presley had a residency there. Cash lugged the whole family along, consisting of his young son, man Carter Cash, follow to Express. The household was to plan to check out Presley perform, yet the plans fell through. "I was an extremely young; would have actually been 4 or five years old," man told Express during a 2020 interview. "But I got ill so us weren"t able to go. I never met Elvis!"


John walk on to tell the outlet about the dynamics and differences in between his father and Presley. "They to be contemporaries and were part of the driving force that created rock and roll," he said. "They each had actually their own individual, distinct traits as artists ... Dad lugged on and he made music up till the very end. In some way, his legacy"s quite a bit different, but he constantly appreciated and also loved Elvis."