Ring_of_Fire_-_The_Best_of_Johnny_Cash#5 – Johnny Cash – “Ring of Fire” – (1963)

This has to be one of Johnny Cash’s signature songs, if not the signature song. It’s at least his most widely known. It’s one of his biggest hits, topping the country charts for seven weeks, something this is nigh impossible these days with country music turning over hits on a weekly basis. Gotta love any song with Mariachi-style horns!

220px-americanivJohnny Cash – “When The Man Comes Around” – (2002)

We’ll stick with the “country songs from 2002” theme for this week, but we’ll ditch the link to terrorism and go with something awesome instead. You don’t have to like country to appreciate Johnny Cash, because he kind of symbolizes the rebel rock and roll attitude better than most rockers. This was one of the final songs Johnny wrote before he died – it’s simple, musically, and really dark, lyrically. It’s really, really good.

220px-Johnny_Cash_At_San_Quentin#21– Johnny Cash – “A Boy Named Sue” – (1969)

And we’re back. We’ve counted down the 2000s, 1990s, 1980s, and for the 1970s, we did the top 21 songs of each year. Which is what we’re going to do all the way back to 1950 (hopefully). This Shel Silverstein-written song is the first entry on the list for the 1960s. The original version of this, from At San Quentin, featured prisoner cheers in the background, which is pretty weird. Also, Carl Perkins is featured on guitar. This was Johnny Cash’s only top 10 hit on the Hot 100.