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Johnny Cash’s First Posthumous No. 1 With ‘American V’

The fifth album in his celebrated series of recordings with Rick Rubin was also his first posthumous chart-topper.

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American V Johnny Cash

On 22 July 2006, Johnny Cash debuted at No. 1 on both the pop and country charts in the US with American V: A Hundred Highways. It was the fifth album in his celebrated series of recordings produced by Rick Rubin, and his first posthumous chart-topper following his death in 2003. Until 2014, when Out Among The Stars hit the top, the album was also The Man In Black’s most recent No. 1 on the country chart.

Listen to American V: A Hundred Highways right now.

A Hundred Highways was Johnny’s ninth No. 1 country album. That was a sequence that stretched all the way back to 1964 — and would probably have gone back further, except that Billboard only introduced a separate country album chart for the first time on 11 January that year. Cash was top of that very first survey, with the Ring Of Fire compilation. A Hundred Highways was also Cash’s first No. 1 country album since Man In Black in 1971. His only previous chart-topper on Billboard’s pop album survey was with Johnny Cash At San Quentin in 1969.

A new video was produced for the track ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down,’ Cash’s version of a traditional tune for which the clip featured an extraordinarily starry line-up. Look at the video and check them off as they appear, in this order: Rick Rubin, Iggy Pop, Kanye West, Chris Martin, Kris Kristofferson, Patti Smith, Terence Howard, Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Q-Tip, Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Chris Rock, Justin Timberlake, Kate Moss, Sir Peter Blake, Sheryl Crow, Denis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Amy Lee of Evanescence, Tommy Lee, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks), Mick Jones, Sharon Stone, Bono, Shelby Lynne, Anthony Kiedis, Travis Barker, Lisa Marie Presley, Kid Rock, Jay Z, Keith Richards, Billy Gibbons, Corinne Bailey Rae, Johnny Depp, Graham Nash, Brian Wilson, Rick Rubin (again) and Owen Wilson.

The album contained two new songs, ‘I Came To Believe’ and his last composition before his death, ‘Like The 309,’ as well as covers of such well-known pieces as Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ and ‘Four Strong Winds,’ written by Ian Tyson and made famous by Neil Young. Cash also reworked Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Further On (Up The Road)’ for the project and the Hank Williams song ‘On The Evening Train.’

American V: A Hundred Highways can be bought here.

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