The deep baritone voice of Johnny Cash is familiar to most of us, especially if we were born before the 2000s. No one else had the sound or the hits that Johnny Cash had, including “Ring of Fire.” It’s a song about falling in love and how the fire of love burns and hurts while all of us long to have it.
When “Ring of Fire” was released in 1963, you may have been too young to realize the meaning of the lyrics. I know I was, and I wondered how you could live while falling into a ring of fire. This was considered a country song, a genre I was not fond of, but I know my parents liked it. It was confusing to me.
In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, and there was a sense of change happening in the world. Zip codes were introduced along with touch-tone phones. Cap’n Crunch cereal hit the shelves and Sunny Delight drink.
Life was relaxed more than now with TV shows like the Beverly Hillbillies, Bonanza, and Petticoat Junction entertaining Americans. These shows presented a lighter, happier feeling than “Ring of Fire” to me, and maybe to you. I think this is because Johnny Cash had many serious, sad hits like “Folsom Prison Blues” that I generally ignore, but I did promise myself that I would never be in prison.
Cash wrote his own songs and learned to play the guitar at the tender age of 12. He had a religious upbringing and his music often had a gospel influence. His “Ring of Fire” was one of the first songs inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Today, it’s a well-known song that can still be heard on mainstream radio occasionally.