Top

A collection of quotes and thoughts by Johnny Cash on life, work, failure, music, death, time, success, money, love, singing, tide, God and beginning.

85 Famous Quotes By Johnny Cash That Will Embolden You To Face Life’s Challenges

Quick Facts

Famous As
Singer-Songwriter

Born On

Died On

Born In
Kingsland, Arkansas, United States

Died At Age

Johnny Cash was a distinguished American actor, guitarist, songwriter, singer and author. He is considered as one of the best-selling music artists of all time with a whopping sales record of 90 million across the globe. He is also considered as the most prominent musician 20th century ever had. He was primarily known for the country music, however, his songs and music also embraced blues, folk, gospel, rockabilly and rock and roll. He received the golden honor of being inducted in ‘Rock and Roll’, ‘Gospel Music’ and ‘Country Music Halls of Fame’ for his crossover. His choice of wearing dark clothing while performing live and singing songs which were based on ‘dark themes’ earned him the nickname of ‘The Man In Black’. His songs echoed about his troubled past and other themes of oddity, redemption, misfortune and pathos. Here are some thoughts and quotes by the renowned artist which have been excerpted from his lyrics, work, views, songs and life. Read through the quotes and sayings by Johnny Cash that will stir you to build on failures. 

All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate…I choose love.

- Johnny Cash

You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.

- Johnny Cash

The things that have always been important: to be a good man, to try to live my life the way God would have me, to turn it over to Him that His will might be worked in my life, to do my work without looking back, to give it all I've got, and to take pride in my work as an honest performer.

- Johnny Cash

I wear black because I'm comfortable in it. But then in the summertime when it's hot I'm comfortable in light blue.

- Johnny Cash

Success is having to worry about every damn thing in the world, except money.

- Johnny Cash

Of emotions, of love, of breakup, of love and hate and death and dying, mama, apple pie, and the whole thing. It covers a lot of territory, country music does.

- Johnny Cash

You've got a song you're singing from your gut, you want that audience to feel it in their gut. And you've got to make them think that you're one of them sitting out there with them too. They've got to be able to relate to what you're doing.

- Johnny Cash

You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way.

- Johnny Cash

People call me wild. Not really though, I'm not. I guess I've never been normal, not what you call Establishment. I'm country.

- Johnny Cash

For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide.

- Johnny Cash

I love to go to the studio and stay there 10 or 12 hours a day. I love it. What is it? I don't know. It's life.

- Johnny Cash

I'm very shy really. I spend a lot of time in my room alone reading or writing or watching television.

- Johnny Cash

I was wearing black clothes almost from the beginning. I feel comfortable in black. I felt like black looked good onstage, that it was attractive, so I started wearing it all the time.

- Johnny Cash

How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man.

- Johnny Cash

That was the big thing when I was growing up, singing on the radio. The extent of my dream was to sing on the radio station in Memphis. Even when I got out of the Air Force in 1954, I came right back to Memphis and started knocking on doors at the radio station.

- Johnny Cash

When my wife died, I booked myself into the studio just to work, to occupy myself.

- Johnny Cash

God gives us life and takes us away as He sees fit.

- Johnny Cash

I am not a Christian artist, I am an artist who is a Christian.

- Johnny Cash

I knew I wanted to sing when I was a very small boy. When I was probably 4 years old. My mother played a guitar and I would sit with her and she would sing and I learned to sing along with her.

- Johnny Cash

My father was a man of love. He always loved me to death. He worked hard in the fields, but my father never hit me. Never. I don't ever remember a really cross, unkind word from my father.

- Johnny Cash

It's like a novelist writing far out things. If it makes a point and makes sense, then people like to read that. But if it's off in left field and goes over the edge, you lose it. The same with musical talent, I think.

- Johnny Cash

I start a lot more songs than I finish, because I realize when I get into them, they're no good. I don't throw them away, I just put them away, store them, get them out of sight.

- Johnny Cash

I read novels but I also read the Bible. And study it, you know? And the more I learn, the more excited I get.

- Johnny Cash

God's the final judge for Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash too. That's solely in the hands of God.

- Johnny Cash

When I record somebody else's song, I have to make it my own or it doesn't feel right. I'll say to myself, I wrote this and he doesn't know it!

- Johnny Cash

There's no way around grief and loss: you can dodge all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully, come out the other side. The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left.

- Johnny Cash

If you aren't gonna say exactly how and what you feel, you might as well not say anything at all.

- Johnny Cash

You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it.

- Johnny Cash

I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine.

- Johnny Cash

All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate…I choose love.

- Johnny Cash

Life and love go on, let the music play.

- Johnny Cash

Life is the question and life is the answer, and God is the reason and love is the way.

- Johnny Cash

Life is rough so you gotta be tough.

- Johnny Cash

There is a spiritual side to me that goes real deep, but I confess right up front that I'm the biggest sinner of them all.

- Johnny Cash

The Master of Lifes been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where other saw oblivion. He Has given new purpose to live for, new services to render and old wounds to heal. Life and love go on, let the music play.

- Johnny Cash

I learn from my mistakes. It's a very painful way to learn, but without pain, the old saying is, there's no gain.

- Johnny Cash

We're all in this together if we're in it at all.

- Johnny Cash

There's unconditional love there. You hear that phrase a lot but it's real with me and her [June Carter]. She loves me in spite of everything, in spite of myself. She has saved my life more than once. She's always been there with her love, and it has certainly made me forget the pain for a long time, many times. When it gets dark and everybody's gone home and the lights are turned off, it's just me and her.

- Johnny Cash

I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It's still my symbol of rebellion -- against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others' ideas.

- Johnny Cash

Burn my Flag and I will shoot you........but I'll shoot you with a lot of love, like a good American

- Johnny Cash

I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way.

- Johnny Cash

No matter how much you've sinned, no matter how much you've stumbled, no matter how much you fall, no matter how far you've got from God, don't give up. You can still be redeemed. As someone says, keep the faith.

- Johnny Cash

A rose looks grey at midnight, but the flame is just asleep. And steel is strong because it knows the hammer and white heat.

- Johnny Cash

A person knows when it just seems to feel right to them. Listen to your heart.

- Johnny Cash

I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God.

- Johnny Cash

You can ask the people around me. I don't give up. I don't give up... and it's not out of frustration and desperation that I say I don't give up. I don't give up because I don't give up. I don't believe in it.

- Johnny Cash

The ones that you're calling wild are going to be the leaders in a little while.

- Johnny Cash

When God forgave me, I figured I'd better do it too.

- Johnny Cash

I'm not really concerned about boundaries. I just follow my conscience and my heart. Follow your heart. That's what I do. Compassion is something I have a lot of, because I've been through a lot of pain in my life. Anybody who has suffered a lot of pain has a lot of compassion.

- Johnny Cash

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town, I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime, But is there because he's a victim of the times. I wear the black for those who never read

- Johnny Cash

It makes me so mad that some people underestimate the wisdom and energy of young people. All because they don't look the way older folks think they should look. I'm working on a song about it. Maybe some of those closed minded people will realize long hair and tattoos don't mean they should be ignored. Close minded people are part of what's wrong with this world.

- Johnny Cash

We'll all be equal under the grass, and God's got a heaven for country trash.

- Johnny Cash

Happiness is being at peace, being with loved ones, being comfortable...but most of all, it's having those loved ones.

- Johnny Cash

The gospel of Christ must always be an open door with a welcome sign for all.

- Johnny Cash

My arms are too short to box with God.

- Johnny Cash

Jesus will not fail me, I shall not be moved.

- Johnny Cash

There's a lot of things blamed on me that never happened. But then, there's a lot of things that I did that I never got caught at.

- Johnny Cash

You miss a lot of opportunities by making mistakes, but that's part of it: knowing that you're not shut out forever, and that there's a goal you still can reach.

- Johnny Cash

The beast in me Is caged by frail and fragile bars.

- Johnny Cash

What have I become, my sweetest friend. Everyone I know goes away, in the end.

- Johnny Cash

Flesh and blood needs flesh and blood, and you're the one I need

- Johnny Cash

I wear this crown of thorns Upon my liar's chair Full of broken thoughts I cannot repair Beneath the stains of time The feelings disappear You are someone else I am still right here What have I become My sweetest friend?

- Johnny Cash

Creative people have to be fed from the divine source. I have to get fed. I had to get filled up in order to pour out.

- Johnny Cash

Beneath the stains of time the feeling disappears, you are someone else I am still right here.

- Johnny Cash Quotes, Johnny Cash

I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.

- The Very Best of Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash

It's good to know who hates you and it is good to be hated by the right people

- Johnny Cash

The beast in me Is caged by frail and fragile bars.

- Johnny Cash

You're so heavenly minded, you're no earthly good.

- Johnny Cash

Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight.

- Johnny Cash

I'm not bitter. Why should I be bitter? I'm thrilled to death with life.

- Johnny Cash

Everybody was wearing rhinestones, all those sparkly clothes, and cowboy boots. I decided to wear a black shirt and pants and see if I could get by with it. I did and I've worn black clothes ever since.

- Johnny Cash

When I think about country music, I think about America.

- Johnny Cash

They're powerful, those songs. At times they've been my only way back, the only door out of the dark, bad places the black dog calls home.

- Cash, Johnny Cash

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine I keep my eyes wide open all the time I keep the ends out for the tie that binds Because you're mine, I walk the line.

- Johnny Cash

I Walk the Line

- Johnny Cash

I took the easy way, and to an extent I regret that. Still, though, the way we did it was honest. We played it and sang it the way we felt it, and there's a lot to be said for that.

- Cash, Johnny Cash

The beer and the wurst were wonderful, but I was dying to be back in the South, where the livin' was easy, where the fish were jumpin', where the cotton grew high.

- Cash, Johnny Cash

Six foot six he stood on the ground He weighed two hundred and thirty-five pounds But I saw that giant of a man brought down To his knees by love

- Johnny Cash

However, neither he nor anyone else could have become the star Elvis was. Ain't nobody like Elvis. Never was.

- Cash, Johnny Cash

This morning, with her, having coffee

- Johnny Cash

And I'd be dead , but by God's grace Drive on, don't mean nothin' My children love me, but they don't understand And I got a woman who knows her man Drive on, don't mean nothin', drive on

- Johnny Cash

Hardin wouldn't run.

- Johnny Cash

Until things are brighter.. I'm the man in black.

- Johnny Cash

Loneliness is emptiness, but happiness is you.

- Johnny Cash

I have tried drugs and a little of everything else, and there iss nothing in the world more soul-satisfying than having the kingdom of God building inside you and growing.

- Johnny Cash