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‘Our generation owes our artistic lives to him – because he opened every door in Nashville’: The Bob Dylan album that helped change country music

By meerna Jun12,2024

On June 7, 1969 Bob Dylan walked onto the sound stage for the first edition of The Johnny Cash Show, ABC’s new music television special, taped at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry. The set was a mock-up of a large rustic living room with bare stone walls, bold soft furnishings, a grandfather clock, and some ornate baronial accents. Dylan played three songs that day, including a duet with Johnny Cash on Girl From The North Country, a song that appeared on Dylan’s ninth studio album, Nashville Skyline.

This event was the culmination of friendship and mutual admiration that began in 1964. In his memoir Cash: The Autobiography, the late country legend recalls how he took a portable record player on tour in 1963 and played The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album backstage: before and after each of his performances. Cash then included three Dylan songs – It Ain’t Me Babe, Mama You’ve Been On My Mind and Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right – on his 1965 album Orange Blossom Special.

THE JOHNNY CASH SHOW - shooting date: May 1, 1969

Dylan and Cash on The Johnny Cash Show in 1969 (Image credit: ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

Dylan, on the other hand, was a huge fan of Cash’s work from the first time he heard I Walk The Line. When Cash died in 2003, Dylan paid a moving tribute: “Simply put, Johnny was and is the North Star; you could steer your ship through him – the greatest of the great then and now.

By meerna

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