About The Song

Johnny Cash also went by the name “Man in Black”. Despite a decades-long career and a massive amount of platinum and gold albums, he got that tag. Cash reached the peaks of success, topped charts, became a household name and left a lasting legacy for future generations to learn from. Yet, his life was full of pain and strife. From battling with drug and alcohol abuse; to a failing early marriage and a tragic childhood, his life was not all that glamorous. These were the themes that ultimately inspired Cash to create music—music that reflected the poor, exploited and depressed. Furthermore, Cash was “The Man in Black” because of his distinctive style of on-stage costuming.
“Man in Black” or “The Man in Black” is a protest song written and recorded by singer-songwriter Johnny Cash. Originally, Columbia released the track on his 1971 album has the same name. The lyrics of the song explain a protest statement against the treatment of poor people by wealthy politicians, mass incarceration, and the Vietnam War.
“Man in Black”, The Show
This was from the February 17, 1971, episode of his show. This was the time the Suits had forced him to start doing “theme” shows. During the intro to his first performance of the song, Johnny Cash revealed he had talked to some of the audience members from Vanderbilt University that weekend. After that, it inspired him to write “Man in Black”. He revised it a few times before his concert on Wednesday. After his performance, the audience gave him a standing ovation. This is from the best of the bunch, Johnny Cash on Campus, which also featured Neil Young and James Taylor. Frankly, this has been one of the coolest introductions ever made by Cash. Eventually, it became his signature song to zero crowd applause.
In his final years, Cash made peace with his personal demons. He and his wife June, with whom he spent many years playing, writing and recording music, lived a music-filled life together.



Well, you wonder why I always dress in black
Why you never see bright colors on my back
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on
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 is long paid for his crime
But is there because he’s a victim of the times
I wear the black for those who’ve never read
Or listened to the words that Jesus said
About the road to happiness through love and charity
Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me
Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine, I do suppose
In our streak of lightnin’ cars and fancy clothes
But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back
Up front there ought to be a man in black
I wear it for the sick and lonely old
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold
I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could have been
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men
And I wear it for the thousands who have died
Believin’ that the Lord was on their side
I wear it for another hundred-thousand who have died
Believin’ that we all were on their side
Well, there’s things that never will be right, I know
And things need changin’ everywhere you go
But ’til we start to make a move to make a few things right
You’ll never see me wear a suit of white
Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day
And tell the world that everything’s okay
But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
‘Til things are brighter, I’m the man in black

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