Everyone loves a comeback story because at one time or another we've all been there. The promotion you didn't get or the deal that fell through, the relationship that didn't work out.. We've all been there.
But nothing can beat patience, perseverance and a change of mindset. The old adage When one door closes another opens applies here. But sometimes these new not so obvious opportunities require hard work, humility, and gratitude none of which are easy at times.
This is the first installment in our new The Comeback Series. Expect a new article every week on an amazing turnaround across music, sports, and other entertainment industries. As we approach the holiday season and enter a more reflective mode hopefully centered around what we should be thankful about,
I wanted to share Johnny Cash's incredible comeback story. How the Man In Black was able to bounce back after multiple setbacks in his career, and life. It is a quite remarkable feat especially given the time, and the changing musical taste of the masses. However, later in life he was able to tap into a new generation of fans that were mostly not familiar with his early recordings
Johnny Cash is one of the most iconic singers of all time. There is no mistaking his deep baritone voice from the first vowel sound of one of his songs truly an original. In his impressive career he topped the charts fourteen times and won fifteen Grammys, but they were not all for records. One Grammy was for writing the liner notes in Bob Dylan's historic Nashville Skyline album. Another Grammy was for the best short form video Hurt which marked his unprecedented comeback.
As the story goes on July 15, 1986, after 26 years of hits, and career milestones Columbia Records dropped Johnny Cash from the label.
Legendary songs like I Walk The Line, Ring Of Fire, and Folsom Prison Blues were all hits during Johnny's tenure there. Coincidentally around the same time, Columbia unbelievably dropped one of the greatest jazz musicians of all-time Miles Davis. What really made Johnny's release more heartbreaking was that he found out through the media as the label did not reach out to him directly. The Man In Black said he was humiliated, and devastated.
The public, and industry outcry was monumental. It was not long before Johnny had a new label, and one of the most critically acclaimed albums of all-time. Johnny first signed with Mercury and scored a top twenty album, but it was his partnership with American Recordings that would mark an unprecedented comeback still referenced today.
Johnny Cash's American Recordings is a series of albums that marked a significant turning point in the iconic musician's career. These albums were a collaboration between Cash and legendary Beastie Boys producer Rick Rubin, resulting in a collection of critically acclaimed and deeply personal works.
Most of the album was recorded at Johnny's Tennessee cabin.
The collection includes traditional country and folk to rock and blues. American Recordings exhibited Cash's ability to effortlessly navigate various genres. Each album in the series presented a unique blend of sounds, resulting in a rich and diverse musical experience. The sparse arrangements, and emotive interpretation of the songs highlighted Cash's authenticity and allowed his voice and lyrics to take center stage.
Throughout his life, Johnny Cash faced his fair share of personal struggles. From battles with addiction to a tumultuous love life, Cash's experiences provided a well of emotions for him to draw upon.
The American Recordings served as a musical canvas for Cash to reflect on his triumphs and tribulations, with songs like "Hurt" and "Delia's Gone" capturing the pain, redemption, and resilience that were so deeply engrained in his life. In these songs, Cash sang with a bared soul, inviting listeners to experience his journey of self-discovery and redemption, and they did..
Johnny went on to win an additional five Grammys for his American Recordings work, and multiple platinum, and gold certifications.
He also was bestowed with the very prestigious Kennedy Center Honors. Johnny's impressive comeback teaches us several lessons.
One very clear lesson is that sometimes you have to take a chance.
Johnny said he was not sure about collaborating with Rick Rubin who was known for his work in heavy metal, and rock. But he gave it a shot after connecting with him.
Another lesson is to shift our mindset concerning loss. Johnny felt horrible about being dropped by his longtime label, but in the end it was the best thing that could've happened to him. The American Recordings page of his career cemented his legacy. Sometimes you just have to trust that there are bigger and better things waiting for you. Stop looking at the door that just closed and be excited about the endless opportunities that still exist and are waiting to be uncovered.
Albert Einstein once said
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Choose the latter..
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