Johnny Cash Hurt

Johnny Cash, who died ten years ago, made an extraordinarily powerful music video just before his death

Contrary what your parents told you, it is now safe to send Cash through the mail (Nice tribute USPS!). Ten years after his death, Johnny Cash is appropriately remembered as a musical genius. If he had died in 1980, that would still be true. But in the last decade of his life he still had something to say, beginning with the unforgettably raw American Recordings.

In this period of his life he also produced, with director Mark Romanek, a truly extraordinary music video. Music videos are usually devoted to youth and flashiness. In that sense this is the ultimate un-video, dwelling on frailty, grief and the end of vanity. Most celebrities try to look younger. Here, the juxtaposition of the clips from the past are used to actually heighten the evidence of Cash’s physical decline. The emotional impact is to me overwhelming.