How Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” Uses a Piece of Paper as an Instrument
- Johnny Cash did “I Walk the Line” and other songs with the same producer behind early Elvis Presley songs.
- “I Walk the Line” was originally a ballad.
- A piece of paper was used as an instrument for the song.
“I Walk the Line” is one of Johnny Cash’s most famous classic rock songs. To create the song, he worked with the same producer behind Elvis Presley’s early songs. The audience can hear the noise made by a piece of paper on “I Walk the Line”.
What Elvis Presley’s Producer Thought When He First Heard Johnny Cash Sing
Sam Phillips was the founder of Sun Records. Without him, the careers of Cash, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis might not be the same. During a 1986 interview with Rolling Stone, Phillips discussed what he thought of Cash.
“When Johnny Cash came along, he sang his original country-gospel songs, and I’ve never been so moved in my life by anything to this day,” Phillips recalled. “But I was very honest with him. I was like, ‘Man, I love it, but god, I can’t sell it, and if I can’t sell it, you and I can’t. be in business.’ Phillips convinced Cash to make secular music.
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Why Sam Phillips Decided Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk the Line’ Shouldn’t Be a Ballad
Phillips produced Cash’s “I Walk the Line”. “The song was originally a ballad. Phillips explained why that changed. “Well, with a bit of tempo, there he was, a modern-day Burl Ives, with a commanding voice and one hell of a song,” he said. “If I can’t say it, I mean, I better quit the company.”
Afterwards, Phillips explained how a piece of paper was used as an instrument for the song. “I had a little piece of paper that I wove through Cash’s strings,” he recalled. “It had to be just the right width. I don’t know how many times I’ve put him through those damn ropes. And when I got it right, I said, “Now tune that fucking guitar like you would without a paper.”
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How ‘I Walk the Line’ fared on the charts
“I Walk the Line” was not a hit on the Billboard Hot 100 as the chart did not exist when Cash first released the song. The song has appeared on a number of Cash’s albums, including the album of the same name. The Scrapbook I walk the line peaked at No. 53 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 23 weeks.
“I Walk the Line” influenced popular culture. Joaquin Phoenix starred in a Cash biopic titled walk the line. “I Walk the Line” has become a classic song and it wouldn’t be the same without a piece of paper.
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