“The Legend of Johnny Cash” is the first collection to encompass the entire span of Cash’s career. Unlike previous collections that did not include his later work, “Legend” provides singles from the beginning of Cash’s career to his American Recordings sessions.
The CD starts out with “Cry! Cry! Cry!” and includes great songs like “A Boy Named Sue,” “I Walk the Line,” “Ring of Fire” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down.” The last six tracks follow Cash’s American Recordings work and give the listener songs like “Delia’s Gone,” and two surprising remakes: Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.”
This compilation is the best one CD collection I have seen yet. It includes hits from the 1950’s through the 2000’s and every one is a jewel. Most of Cash’s previous “greatest hits” CDs feature the same 10-15 songs in various arrangements. However, with the inclusion of Cash’s later singles, “Legend” is truly representative of the Man in Black’s legacy. Especially validating of Cash’s place in music history is the inclusion of “Hurt.” Rarely do I think a remake is as good as the original song, but Cash outstrips and outdoes Trent Reznor, making “Hurt” his own and bringing a tangible emotion to the song that Reznor failed to find.
“The Legend of Johnny Cash” is a must have for those wanting to find out what the man was about and why he is so important to American music. With this CD one finds a rare treat; a CD that both a great grandparent and a their great grandchild can listen to with equal joy.