Johnny Cash grave
Johnny Cash
Hendersonville Memory Gardens
Hendersonville, Tennessee

Man In Black

Well you wonder why I always dress in black
Why you never see bright colors on my back
And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone
Well there’s a reason for the things that I have on

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down
Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime
But is there because he’s a victim of the times

I wear the black for those who’ve never read
Or listened to the words that Jesus said
About the road to happiness through love and charity
Why you’d think he’s talkin’ straight to you and me

Well we’re doin’ mighty fine I do suppose
In our streak-of-lightning cars and fancy clothes
But just so we’re reminded of the one’s who are held back
Up front there oughta be a man in black

I wear it for the sick and lonely old
For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold
I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could’ve been
Each week we lose a hundred fine young men

And I wear it for the thousands who have died
Believing that the Lord was on their side
I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died
Believing that we all were on their side

Well there’s things that never will be right I know
And things need changin’ everywhere you go
But ’till we start to make a move to make a few things right
You’ll never see me wear a suit of white

Oh, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day
And tell the world that everything’s OK
But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
’Till things are brighter, I’M THE MAN IN BLACK....

     —Johnny Cash, 1971

Johnny Cash bumper sticker
Bumper sticker seen on a truck in Texas.

Walk the Line movie poster
The staff & management of 101Bananas highly
recommends Walk the Line, the 2005 movie
that tells the story of the life of Johnny Cash.