To paraphrase Walt Whitman, Johnny Cash contained multitudes. A towering figure of the country scene in the latter part of the 21st century, his career spanned six decades and his work was still vital up until his death in 2003. His work in the 50s with the Tennessee Three backing band was characterised by the distinctive ‘chicka-boom’ rhythm and spawned several major hit singles. In the 60s his personal life spiralled out of control but Cash continued to produce great records, cultivating an outlaw image that would prove hugely influential on other artists. After cleaning up his life, Cash became a mainstream star but lost some of the vitality of his earlier work. His high-profile on US television made him a household name and did wonders for country music. He enjoyed a notable late-career renaissance in the 90s when he teamed up with producer Rick Rubin on the superb American Recordings series. Although some of the songs on these Rubin-produced albums were out of Johnny’s comfort zone, his reading of Trent Reznor’s Hurt will go down as one of his most powerful performances, and one of the best cover versions of all time, while the accompanying video is incredibly poignant. A gigantic figure in the history of popular music, and notably Americana.