♫ Ring Of Fire ♫

As usual, I am a day late … well, actually three days late … with this one.  And, you will never guess … never in a million years … who suggested I play this one … a day late!  If Ellen apprised me of these things a few days in advance … sigh.

I am not a fan of country music, though I can tolerate some John Denver, Willy Nelson, Kenny Rogers, and some of the ‘softer’ country artists.  However, when I think ‘country music’, there are a few icons of the genre that come to mind … Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Waylon Jennings, and of course Johnny Cash.  The original ‘man in black’.

Ellen’s reason for requesting this song … three days ago … are best stated by her:

“The love story of June and Johnny has been explored from every side and angle … both were married when they met in the 50’s, both divorcing and soon marrying in 1968 after his proposal to her during a live performance in Canada. I will tell you about two things. First, June Carter Cash died on May 15, 2003 and was followed by Johnny in September of the same year. Second, the song that I have always loved is “Ring of Fire”. According to them, it was written by June in 1962 as a love song to him having been inspired by a line of Elizabethan poetry. There was a co-writer, but I forget his name, and she first gave it to a sister to record. It wasn’t a hit and Johnny wanted to record it his way and the result was a hit.”

To embellish just a bit on the information Ellen provided, I turned to SongFacts.  June Carter wrote the lyrics about her relationship with Johnny Cash. She felt being around Cash was like being in a “ring of fire.” Cash was involved in drugs and had a very volatile lifestyle. June Carter wrote this song while driving around aimlessly one night, worried about Cash’s wildman ways – and aware that she couldn’t resist him.

“There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns.”

Cash released this in 1963, and Eric Burdon and the Animals covered it six years later.  By the way … the co-writer was Merle Kilgore, who was also the best man at June & Johnny’s wedding.  Their marriage lasted 35 years, until death did them part.

Now, don’t anybody ask for country music for at least a month, please, for it will take me that long to recover from these two back-to-back country songs!  This one’s for you, my dear friend Ellen …

Ring of Fire
Johnny Cash

Love is a burning thing
And it makes a fiery ring
Bound by wild desire
I fell into a ring of fire

I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down and the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire

I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down and the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire

The taste of love is sweet
When hearts like ours meet
I fell for you like a child
Oh, but the fire went wild

I fell into a burning ring of fire
I went down, down, down and the flames went higher
And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire

And it burns, burns, burns
The ring of fire, the ring of fire
The ring of fire, the ring of fire

Songwriters:  June Carter/Merle Kilgore

26 thoughts on “♫ Ring Of Fire ♫

  1. I am beyond words, well almost but not quite! Even the poor quality of the video couldn’t diminish Johnny’s fire. Though difficult to make them out, that is the Carter Family singing back-up. They are June’s sisters and one of them is Anita who first recorded June’s song. Just imagine, if it had been a hit for her, Johnny may never have recorded it and he had waited before doing so to give her version a chance. By the way, June Carter was distantly related to Elvis and a distant cousin of President Jimmy Carter…quite a family tree! Now then, as I am frequently accused of not giving you adequate prior notice…I do so now, in print and in front of witnesses. Johnny Cash died on Sept. 12, 2003 and a fitting tribute to him would be left to your discretion, perhaps a later re-recording of “I Walk the Line”. Be that as may, I still must bring to your attention another important songstress whose day has also been overlooked and I would have mentioned this on the day except for one thing. It was Larry’s long overdue featured song yesterday and I chose to be respectfully silent. Nevertheless I can not allow the Queen of Disco’s date of death (May 17, 2012) to slip by unnoticed. In truth, I was going to mention this back when I was promoting Barbra Streisand, but did not want to take the spotlight from the Diva. I did slyly mention the song “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)” from her 1979 album “Wet” in a comment prior to your post for Barbra. That is the 1979 song that Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer never performed together after its recording. One of my frequently played albums is Donna’s Oct. 1979 “On the Radio : Greatest Hits Vol 1 & 11” and I love every song, especially that one! Please do not feel pressed to play this song, I know that you have stated that you are not a fan of disco and I have monopolized your music posts long past tolerance. I feel redeemed by just having mentioned Donna Summer and rest assured the album was played last night, more than once and while I was commenting! Thank-YOU!

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    • I’m sorry, by the way, for the poor quality of the video … I found some with better sound quality, but they didn’t actually show him performing, and I usually prefer to show the performance. I did not know June was related to either Elvis or Jimmy!!! I’m going to pass on playing Donna Summer for now, but I do have a funny Donna Summer story. When my two oldest kids were little, maybe 7 & 8, I had fallen asleep in my chair (I was always exhausted when my kids were little, for some reason) and my son, Michael, woke me and said, “Mommy — what colour is Donna Summer?” Now, you know I’ve always had very poor hearing, and I was still half asleep, so I thought he asked what colour dinosaurs were, and I answered “green”. I thought no more about it until a few days later I heard him telling someone that Donna Summer was green! Now, I will put Donna Summer on my list for a later date, and you did pay tribute with your mention of her. 😊

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  2. Jill, Johnny Cash has quite the global following. He started out as a rock-a-billy star. When he had his TV show, he had a wide range of performers who came on to his show out of respect like Eric Clapton, Ray Charles, Carl Perkins, etc. I think part of that was due to his advocacy for the disenfranchised – Native Americans, prisoners, etc.

    He is not just a country singer; he is more troubador singing his own music. Keith

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    • I didn’t know, until I was doing research for this post, about his humanitarian exploits, only ever thought of him as a ‘bad boy’. I actually thought he had served time in prison, but found that I was wrong on that too. Misconceptions.

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  3. A favourite song of mine from my youth. Thank you for the mention of Eric’s recording of this. The best blues-rock voice ever.
    Johnny and June were as hot as Bogie and Bacall. Very memorable.

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      • Johnny Cash was more than C&W, but old c&w I like. Hank Williams Sr., Carl Perkins, some Tennesee Ernie Ford, Homer & Jethro, and a few others I like. Willie Nelson is still good today. I have fingers into a lot of genres, but mostly selected pieces or songs only. Rock, blues/rock, folk/rock, folk, those are my loves, with 60s psychedelia at the very top.

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