Hello. I’m Johnny Cash…well his Top Ten songs anyway!



Johnny Cash. The Man in Black. It is hard to boil the songs of a music legend like Cash down to a top ten. A big thanks to Marlboro for reminding me of some Cash treasures that I had forgotten! My top ten Cash songs:

  1. Rusty Cage  (Soundgarden cover)
  2. Ring of Fire
  3. Folsom Prison Blues
  4. Big River
  5. The Highwayman
  6. I Walk the Line
  7. Guess Things Happen that Way
  8. The Man Comes Around
  9. Last Gunfighter Ballad
  10. Spiritual

Although rock and heavy metal are my genres of choice, variety is the spice of life. My love for music was born out of the many genres I was exposed to growing up in Kansas. Country music was played in my house a lot growing up, so I’ve listened to Johnny Cash all my life.

Cash’s music is the reason I connected with one of my oldest, and dearest friends. My friendship with Doug began with the Cash version of Soundgarden’s “Rusty Cage” (the reason I had to put it at #1).  I was living in Kurashiki, Japan and was working as staff teacher at an English camp. I awoke the first morning of camp to Johnny Cash singing “Rusty Cage” over the camp loudspeakers…talk about surreal! Imagine waking up one morning after sleeping on a hard floor on a thin mat in 90% humidity to be greeted by a hundred or so Japanese students and Johnny Cash…mind blown! I was like, “I gotta meet the person who chose this song!” Next thing I knew this tall Kiwi came over and introduced himself. “So you like the song?”, he asked. “Cash is a legend,” I replied. And then we started talking about music and found common interest in country and rock music from Cash to Springsteen to Waylon to Elvis.

The rest, as they say, is history. That moment is one of my fondest memories from that time in Japan. Doug, a.k.a. Marlboro, and I have been close friends for over twenty years (we both love the movie Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man…I had a Harley at the time…Doug is a big Don Johnson fan…the nicknames stuck). This list is dedicated to you Marlboro and feel free to point out where the list goes wrong for you! Cheers!

© 2019 Gregory Vessar

Categories: Japan, Music, WritingTags: , ,


  1. Dont forget “boy named sue”!! I agree with you regarding our Kiwi brother. I met Doug many years later but it was a great day. Instant family. Gday mate!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Feeling the love dude! This post brought a tear to my eye. I know that every language evolves and keeps right on a’moving, but when people say they are “humbled” by great things that happen to them or great comments made about them, I think they need to check a dictionary. I felt moved by this post and extremely proud (not humbled aka defeated). Good memory on how we became buddies, Harley. I must say that am hugely proud of being excepted into Team Vessar, too…”gidday mate!”. Can’t wait until we all get to hang out again together…a camping trip to Montana or a river trip down the Colorado sounds cool. Back to the list…great list, brother. I’m surprised & glad that you liked the obscure #9…I knew you’d love #10. I’ll leave you with a few lines whose depth is immeasurable:

    “I may simply be a single drop of rain
    But I will remain
    And I’ll be back again, and again and again and again and again”

    Liked by 1 person

    • You reminded me about #9 “Last Gunfighter Ballad”. I listened to it over and over one night…great song! And you were right about #10 “Spiritual”…you know me well Marlboro!


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