Today in Country Music, July 23, featuring I Walk The Line.
Today in Country Music, July 23
On this day in 2011, for the first time in his career, Blake Shelton placed an album at #1 on Billboard's all-genre top 200 chart… Red River Blue sold more than 115,000 copies the first week
Today in 2007, CMA Music Festival: Country's Night To Rock, aired on ABC… the two-hour show included CMA fest performances by Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Martina Mcbride, Brad Paisley and Reba Mcentire
Toby Keith released his album Unleashed featuring "Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)" in 2002
And on this day in 1956, Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line" went to #1
"I Walk the Line" written by Johnny Cash and recorded in 1956. After three attempts with moderate chart ratings, "I Walk the Line" became the first number one Billboard hit for Cash. The single remained on the record charts for over 43 weeks, and sold over 2 million copies.
The unique chord progression for the song was inspired by backwards playback of guitar runs on Cash's tape recorder while he was in the Air Force stationed in Germany. Later in a telephone interview, Cash stated, “I wrote the song backstage one night in 1956 in Gladewater, Texas. I was newly married at the time, and I suppose I was laying out my pledge of devotion." After the writing of the song Cash had a discussion with fellow performer Carl Perkins who encouraged him to adopt "I Walk the Line" as the song title. Cash originally intended the song as a slow ballad, but producer Sam Phillips preferred a faster arrangement, which Cash grew to like as the uptempo recording met with success.
Once while performing the song on his TV show, Cash told the audience, with a smile, "People ask me why I always hum whenever I sing this song. It's to get my pitch." The humming was necessary since the song required Cash to change keys several times while singing it.
The song was originally recorded at Sun Studio on April 2, 1956, and was released on May 1. It spent six weeks at the top spot on the U.S. country Juke Box charts that summer, one week on the C&W Jockey charts and number two on the C&W Best Seller charts. "I Walk the Line" crossed over and reached number nineteen on the pop music charts.
It was performed with the help of Marshall Grant and Luther Perkins, two mechanics that his brother introduced him to following his discharge from the Air Force. Cash and his wife, Vivian, were living in Memphis, Tennessee, at the time. Cash became the front man for the group and precipitated the introduction of the group to Sam Phillips of Sun Records. In 1955 they began recording under the Sun label.
The song was re-recorded four times during Cash's career. In 1964 for the I Walk the Line album, again in 1969 for the At San Quentin album, in 1970 for the I Walk the Line soundtrack, and finally in 1988 for the Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series album.
In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song at #30 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.