Johnny Cash’s Short and Personal To-Do List


John­ny Cash wrote down at least two lists in his life­time. Let’s start with the big one. In 1973, when his daugh­ter Roseanne turned 18, the leg­endary musi­cian pulled out a sheet of yel­low legal paper and began writ­ing down 100 Essen­tial Coun­try Songs, the songs she need­ed to know if she want­ed to start her own musi­cal career. The list, writes the web­site Folk­Works, did­n’t con­strue coun­try music nar­row­ly. It was eclec­tic, tak­ing in old folk songs, Appalachi­an bal­lads, and also protest songs, ear­ly coun­try clas­sics, and mod­ern folks songs sung by artists like Bob Dylan. (Don’t miss our post on Dylan and Cash’s 1969 col­lab­o­ra­tion here.) This essen­tial list nev­er went pub­lic, at least not in full. Roseanne Cash guard­ed it close­ly until 2009, when she released an album fea­tur­ing inter­pre­ta­tions of 12 titles from her father’s list. The oth­er 88 songs still remain a mys­tery.

Now on to that oth­er list: Some­where along the way (we’re not sure when) The Man in Black jot­ted down 10 “Things to Do Today!” This list feels almost like some­thing you and I could have writ­ten, the stuff of mor­tals. Heck, in a giv­en day, we all “Cough,” “Eat” and “Pee.” We strug­gle with will pow­er (not eat­ing too much, per­haps not smok­ing, maybe not fool­ing around with any­one but our spouse). And we’re hope­ful­ly good to our loved ones. So what sets John­ny Cash apart from us? Just June and that piano.

John­ny’s to-do list sold at auc­tion for $6,250 in 2010.

via The New York Times via Lists of Note

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