News | Penguin Random House | Munich, 08/15/2023

Global Premiere At BTB: ‘Johnny Cash. The Life in Lyrics’

September 12 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Country music legend Johnny Cash. Two days before that, the German Penguin Random House imprint BTB is releasing, as a world premiere, “The Life in Lyrics. Sein Leben, seine Texte,” a book containing the lyrics of 125 Cash songs and the stories behind them.

Johnny Cash is one of the most popular and influential country music stars of all time. He composed more than six hundred songs and sold more than ninety million records. He received 29 gold, platinum and multiplatinum awards for his recordings and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Twenty years after the Country music legend’s death, the Johnny Cash Estate is opening its archives for the first time for a unique book release, “Johnny Cash, The Life in Lyrics. Sein Leben, seine Texte.” It will be published as a world premiere in Germany on September 10 by BTB, a Penguin Random House Verlagsgruppe publisher, in a translation by Alexander Wagner, Stefan Rohmig, Philip Bradatsch and Bernd Gockel, among others.

The book contains the lyrics to 125 Cash songs and the stories behind them. Perhaps more than any other American artist, Johnny Cash spoke to the soul of the nation, but also wrote about the personal triumphs and challenges of his own life. This book presents his range as a lyricist and storyteller, taking readers from his early life and early successes through times of severe personal challenges, his activism, and faith. The resulting book provides a deep understanding of Johnny Cash as a person and an artist, as well as the American history he helped shape. An indispensable collector’s item that sheds new light on Cash’s life and work, the book also includes rare visual and archival material, as well as recollections by Cash’s son John Carter Cash and “family historian” Mark Stielper.

With heart, mind, and spirit

“There is no better way to get to know my father than to look at his written works,” says John Carter Cash. “Whether it’s the songs he recorded, his poetry or the material that wasn’t published during his lifetime, he poured his heart, mind, and spirit into everything he wrote. I’m excited about the publication of this book and about honoring his brilliance and his life by focusing on his greatest life’s work, his words.”

Johnny Cash (1932-2003) was an American singer and songwriter who is still one of the best-selling musicians of all time. He made a name for himself by combining country, rock, blues and gospel elements, helping to develop country genres like Countrypolitan and promoting the Outlaw movement. Cash was also a successful actor and author who also promoted social causes that were important to him. His long-standing support of the SOS Children’s Villages led to the founding of the Johnny Cash Memorial Fund, which continues to support charitable institutions after his death.

John Carter Cash is the only son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. He runs the Cash Cabin Studio in Tennessee and has produced five Grammy-winning albums to date. He has already made a name for himself as an author with the book “House of Cash: The Legacy of My Father, Johnny Cash”. Mark Stielper  documented the life of the “Man in Black” for nearly forty years, contributed to numerous biographies and television documentaries, and has lectured at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Cash Museum. Stielper, Cash once said, “was my friend, our family historian, and knew more about me than I did myself.” 

Johnny Cash: The Life in Lyrics