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I Walk The Line


Johnny Cash

Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

One of his most famous songs, this song details Johnny Cash's values and lifestyle. It is a promise to remain faithful to his first wife, Vivian, while he is on the road.
"Walk The Line" was the title of the 2005 Cash biopic, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. (thanks, Andy - Arlington, VA)
Carl Perkins suggested the title "I Walk The Line" while on tour with Cash. (thanks, Anthony - Swansea, Wales)
Levi's used this in television commercials. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
While performing the song on his TV show Cash admitted that his eerie hum at the beginning of each verse was to get his pitch. The song required Cash to change keys several times while singing it.
Recorded in April 1956, Cash's first #1 was sped up at the urging of Sun Studios owners Sam Phillips. Jack Clements, who worked with Cash, recalled to Uncut magazine April 2012: "I wasn't impressed with Cash at first, because I like recordings with class… And Cash seemed rough, but 'I Walk The line' was a class recording."
Johnny Cash
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Comments (31):

On January 19th 1957, Johnny Cash performed "I Walk The Line" on the CBS-TV program 'The Jackie Gleason Show'...
Six months earlier on July 15th, 1956 it peaked at #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's C&W Best Sellers chart and spent well over a half-year on the chart (43 weeks)...
The record was sandwiched between Elvis' songs while at #1; it was preceded by "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" and succeeded by "Don't Be Cruel" b/w "Hound Dog"...
R.I.P. Mr. Cash (1932 - 2003) and to The King (1935 - 1977).
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
great song
- Michael Scott, Punta Gorda, FL
Listen to the chick-a chick-a rhythm in the background of this and several of Johnny's tunes (such as "Get Rhythm"). In lieu of a drummer, which he didn't have in his early days, he copied a technique he'd seen Bill Carlisle of the Carlisles do: take a dollar bill and weave it in and out of the strings just above the sound hole. When you play the song's chords in rhythm, you get a brush on snare drum sound.
- Terry, Willmar, MN
During his 'The Rising' tour, Bruce Springsteen opened the September 13th, 2003 show at FedEx Field, Washington, DC, with 'I WALK THE LINE' as a tribute to Johnny Cash who passed away the previous day...
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
johnny Cash was my favourite country singer i miss him heaps
RIP J.R.Cash (1932-2003)
he would still be alive if he didnt have diabetes.
- Natasha, Rockingham, Australia
I never knew about Johnny Cash till the time I bought a record of best country songs and listened to "Walk The Line" ... and the rest is history. Even when me and my better half have a fight i make her listen to "I walk the line" and things patch up....
- Shaon, Gurgaon, India
i never thought i'd like this song.... but i often hum it even though i don't realize it... lol... the starting of this song is damn sure many ppl wud have heard it even b4 they listened to the whole song.
- rahul, chennai, India
One of the best songs by Johnny Cash.
- Briar, Hazard, KY
Believe it or not, in the the "walk the line" movie, june carter was refering to elvis' "on the line"
- Ryan, LeSueur, MN
- deano, oxford, United Kingdom
The key changes...
Johnny had a reel-to-reel recorder in the airforce. One day, it was playing 'eerie' music. He thought it was a catholic mass or something. He flipped the tape around and found out that someone had been playing and recording guitar licks on it at different speeds.

He learned the guitar runs and jammed on them for years. It was backstage in Texas that he got to talking with Carl Perkins. After playing the guitar licks, Perkins suggested "Walk the Line"!
- Ric, Erskine, United Kingdom
check out live's version of this song.pretty amazing,they've given it a darker overtone which does one of the greatest artists ever justice.
- Theo, Johannesburg, South Africa
i love this song and many others by Johnny...i also love the movie they made about his life, which is titled walk the line.
- Sarah, Tallahassee, FL
Let me piggyback on Dave's correct comment. It is used VERY PROMINENTLY in the film. It is an entire montage of Cash touring without June. The song is played in its entirety as sung by Cash portrayer Joaquin Phoenix. That comment is an embarassment to this site.
- Alden, College Park, MD
Jonathan is right about the phrase when June Carter said it in the movie, but the phrase used in the song is used like, walking a thin line between good and evil, not neither nor, or to behave in a way that doesn't put you on one side or the other of a dispute or an issue, (being careful) not to take sides, to remain neutral, in between.
- Dan, Orange Park, FL
Great song, and Jaoquin Phoenix did a GREAT job singing it, in the movie "Walk the Line"
- Dan, Orange Park, FL
Jo-C, The scene that it's mentioned in the movie is: Johnny and The members of his band and his touring friends are drunk and at the end, June says,"You can't walk the line,"(Because they're drunk.) Then, the next scene is Johnny and his band Recording this song.(Obviously some MAJOR time-lapse!)
- Jonathan, Johnstown, PA
Yeah this song was in the movie.
- Austin, Boston, MA
Umm...I'm pretty sure "I Walk The Line" was in the movie "Walk The Line."
- Alex, Grand Blanc, MI
RIP the late Johnny Cash. You Legend.
- Dave, Sydney, Australia
Where the song "Walk the Line" may appear to have been inspired by June Carter based on that scene in the movie, that scene never in fact happened in real life. Johnny and June did not meet for the first time until the 1960s (according to Johnny's second autobiography, "Cash") and that scene in the movie was set in the late '50s.
- Jason, New York, NY
I first heard this song when it was NEW. It was my introduction to Johnny Cash and I becama a fan for life. On May 31,1972, when I was on-the-air at KAAY/Little Rock, Johnny gave me a suprise call. He had just recorded a new album at his freshly built studio at his home in Hendersonville, Tenn. and wanted my opinion of it. He was kind, gracious and talked to me for almost an hour on-the-air. I will never forget the generous nature of this truly Legendary Performer.
Thanks again, were the BEST. PERIOD.
- Jonnie, St. Louis, MO
Jessica from Brookings,SD is right about "Walk the Line" being about his first wife; this is a well known fact.

In the movie they did play it after June makes a comment but that doesnt mean they wrote it right then and its not how it happened in real life. I remember thinking its giving the wrong impression.
- laura, san antonio, TX
Actually this song is about how Johnny will be faithful to his first wife.
- Jessica, Brookings, SD
Actually, the band records Walk The Line on the movie after June tells the boys, "You can't walk no line" or something like that.
- Jo-C, Lima, Peru
My songfact seems to have been "modified" somewhat, as I never said that the song was never used in the movie. In fact I haven't seen the movie yet.
- Andy, Arlington, VA
Actually the song was written with the inspiration that "June" would not walk the line for Johnny and the band. Johnny was stating that he would gladly walk the line for her. The movie while about his life story was more a focus on the June/Johnny relationship. "The Ring of Fire" was sort of Junes (written by June Carter) answer to that. Johhny happily sang that.
- ann, My House
Yeah, the song does appear in the movie but only for a brief moment. Apparently there is controversy going around because American Idol contestant Chris Daughtry sang this last week and is accused of copying a version done by the band Live back in 2001
- Ashley Jade, Cleveland, GA
By "a long time," I mean after I saw the movie, around right when it came out.
- Spencer, Los Angeles, CA
Hey, someone stole my songfact. I submitted that one about the movie a long time ago.
- Spencer, Los Angeles, CA
Actually this song is used in the movie "Walk the Line".
- Dave, Ulverston, England
We're sorry for the inconvenience. Comments are closed for update.
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