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Music career slowing down - Page 7

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Johny Cash - Music career slowing down

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Althoug in the 80's his albums weren’t a success he still toured with sold-out concerts and after being kicked and critically wounded by an ostrige at his farm, Cash was admitted to a hospital. He suffered from serious abdominal pain, and recieved painkillers as a part of the treatment. These pills were addictive, and Cash was once again adiccted to drugs. But it didn’t last long. In 1986 he recovered at the Betty Ford Clinic. While recovering here, he became friends with Ozzy Osbourne, who happened to be there for the same reason as Cash. 

Cash’s career hit an all-time low in the ‘80s, and his general relationship with the Nashville establishment was falling apart. After almost 30 years with Columbia records, Cash realized that they were growing in a different direction than Cash. He felt that he wasn’t believed in and that they were not properly marketing him. Cash said himself in his autobiography that he felt “invisible” during that time. 

Cash wrote a self-parody, intentially awful song called “Chicken in Black” in 1984. The song was about Cash’s brain being transplanted into a chicken. Althoug this song actually turned out to be quite a large commercial success, Cash was hoping to kill the relationship with Columbia. 

After leaving Columbia Records, Cash returned to Sun Studios in Memphis to record the album “Class of ’55”. He would on this album be accompanied by Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. This was kind of like the “Million Dollar Quartet” from ’56, but Elvis Presley was replaced by Orbison. The new quartet wrote a song together called “We Remember the King”, as a tribute for their late friend.



In 1997, Cash was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disease Shy-Drager syndrome, a form of multiple system atrophy. The diagnosis was later altered to autonomic neuropathy associated with diabetes. This illness forced Cash to curtail his touring. He was hospitalized in 1998 with severe pneumonia, which damaged his lungs. The albums American III: Solitary Man (2000) and American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002) contained Cash's response to his illness in the form of songs of a slightly more somber tone than the first two American albums. The video that was released for "Hurt", a cover of the song by Nine Inch Nails, fits Cash's view of his past and feelings of regret. The video for the song, from American IV, is now generally recognized as "his epitaph," and received particular critical and popular acclaim.