Johnny Cash was prolific.
Throughout the course of his career his name tops 145 albums collectively, and 6 discs of this material was released after his own death. The final chapter of his performance, composition, and recording career (life) was his collaboration with Rick Rubin and American Records. The list of notable achievements and anecdotal comments I could make regarding these records would last a night. Feel free to take me out for a beer if you're actually interested in that conversation.
Nevertheless, the thing that's been on my mind lately is
Johnny Cash and his impact on music videos.
After Beethoven premiered his 9th symphony in 1824, all other composers of note ceased to write another symphony for years. Furthermore, in 1859 Franz Liszt and a group of like minded cohorts gathered in Weimar Germany and founded what they called the New German School of Music. Their thought being that Beethoven fulfilled the maximum potential for composition in the traditional forms of music. The composers in the New German school then sought to create new forms and styles for their own compositions. No one wanted to follow in the wake of Beethoven. They were not wrong to feel intimidated.
It is my assertion that the music video for Johnny Cash's Hurt
is the Pop equivalent to Beethoven's 9th symphony.
MTV debuted first music video on August 1, 1981. It was Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles. Music videos immediately became an essential aspect of what it meant to be a Pop star. The scope, ambition, and budget of music videos continually grew until the video was more important than the actual song. I'm going to say that music videos, as a form, jumped the shark in 2000 with Jay-Z's video for Give it to Me.
See if you agree:
Finally, in 2003 Johnny Cash released the video for his final single, Hurt.
It would mark the end.
It was the end of a career.
It was the end of music videos.
Obviously there have been music videos since Hurt. But none have been as meaningful and relevant to both the musical content and the musician. MTV has stopped playing music, VH1 is concentrating on celeb-reality, and Carson Daly is a late night host. Music videos et mort, and Johnny Cash gave the form it's swan song with Hurt.