|"I Walk the Line"|
|Single by Johnny Cash|
|from the album With His Hot and Blue Guitar, Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous, Sings Hank Williams, and I Walk the Line|
|Released||May 1, 1956|
|Format||7-inch & 10-inch singles|
|Recorded||April 2, 1956, Sun Studio, Memphis, Tennessee|
|Johnny Cash singles chronology|
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"I Walk the Line" is a song written and recorded in 1956 by Johnny Cash. After three attempts with moderate chart ratings, it became Cash's first number one hit on the Billboard charts. It reached number 17 on the US pop charts. It remained on the record charts for over 43 weeks, and sold over 2 million copies. It has also been used on many LP's released from Sun Records, such as With His Hot and Blue Guitar, Sings the Songs That Made Him Famous, and Sings Hank Williams. It was the title song for a 1970 film starring Gregory Peck.
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's lyrics refer to marital fidelity, personal responsibility, and avoiding temptation and criminal behavior.
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 19 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 (a live performance), in 1970 for the I Walk the Line soundtrack, and finally in 1988 for the Classic Cash: Hall of Fame Series album. Additional live performances have been released since Cash's death, along with a demo version recorded prior to the formal 1956 recording session that was released on Bootleg Vol. II: From Memphis to Hollywood (Columbia/Legacy) in 2011.
The song is very simple and like most Cash songs, the lyrics tell more of a story than the music conveys. (You've got a way to keep me on your side/You give me cause for love that I can't hide/For you I know I'd even try to turn the tide).
It is based upon the "boom-chicka-boom" or "freight train" rhythm common in many of Cash's songs. In the original recording of the song, there is a key change between each of the five verses, and Cash hums the new root note before singing each verse. The final verse, a reprise of the first, is sung a full octave lower than the first verse.
When performing this song on record, and in later live and television appearances, Cash would place a piece of paper under the strings of his guitar towards the tuning end. As he explained during a 1990s appearance on The Nashville Network, he did this in order to simulate the sound of a snare drum, an instrument to which he did not have access during the original Sun session.
Johnny, with the Temptations outside his door and a new wife at home, wanted the lyrics to say, "I'm going to be true to those who believe in me and depend on me to myself and God. Something like I'm still being true, or I'm 'Walking The Line.' The lyrics came as fast as I could write," says Johnny. "In 20 minutes, I had it finished."
The song is included in "The 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll", a permanent exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song at No. 30 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In June 2014, Rolling Stone ranked it #1 on its list of the 100 greatest country songs of all time.
|"Walk the Line Remix"|
|Single by Laurent Wolf|
|from the album Harmony|
|Released||22 August 2009|
|Format||CD maxi, Digital download|
|Laurent Wolf singles chronology|
|1.||"Walk the Line" (Radio Edit Version)||2:53|
|2.||"Walk the Line" (Club Version)||6:59|
|3.||"No Stress" (Zen @ Acoustic)||7:35|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||18|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)||23|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||83|