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On Sale Today: Johnny Cash LP “I Walk the Line”

June 22, 1964 - On sale today is singer-songwriter Johnny Cash’s nineteenth long-playing record, “I Walk the Line.” The album features a handful of recent songs alongside new recordings of previous hits, including the title song, throughout his career.

The song “I Walk the Line” was originally written and recorded in 1956. It was Cash’s first No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts, eventually reaching No. 17 on the U.S. pop charts. The song remained on the record charts for over 43 weeks and sold over 2 million copies. The song captures Cash’s “boom-chicka-boom” sound by Johnny putting a dollar bill in the neck of his guitar.

Cash stated, “I wrote the song backstage one night in 1956 in Gladwater, Texas. I was newly married at the time, and I suppose I was laying out my pledge of devotion.”

Cash originally intended the song to be a slow ballad, but producer Sam Phillips preferred a faster arrangement. In the end, Cash agreed to the change, and the up-tempo recording met with success.

On one occasion, while performing “I Walk the Line” on television, Cash explained to the audience the reason for his humming during the song: “People ask me why I always hum whenever I sing this song. It’s to get my pitch.” The humming is necessary since the song requires Cash to change keys several times while singing it.

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