110 Johnny Cash Quotes to Tune the Music in Your Heart

We’ve gathered these Johnny Cash quotes to show you how he touches lives through his beautiful songs.

Johnny rose from humble beginnings to become a country music legend. His notable music genres include rock and roll, rockabilly, blues, folk, and gospel.

Music is a pleasurable source of entertainment. It is also one of the most effective methods to touch someone’s heart.

That’s why we’ve gathered these quotes to offer you a glimpse of this wonderful singer and his wisdom.

Let’s start here.

And don’t forget to check out these John Lennon quotes and Stevie Wonder quotes.

Best Johnny Cash Quotes

Five Quotes That Could Change Every...
Five Quotes That Could Change Everything

1. “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door in the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

2. “You’ve got to know your limitations. I don’t know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was 12. I found out that there weren’t too many limitations if I did it my way.”

3. “Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight.” 

4. “All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate—I choose love.” 

5. “I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion—against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas.”

6. “My father was a man of love. He always loved me to death. He worked hard in the fields, but my father never hit me. Never. I don’t ever remember a really cross, unkind word from my father.” 

7. “Follow your heart. That’s what I do. Compassion is something I have a lot of because I’ve been through a lot of pain in my life. Anybody who has suffered a lot of pain has a lot of compassion.” 

8. “The things that have always been important—to be a good man, to try to live my life the way God would have me, to turn it over to Him that His will might be worked in my life, to do my work without looking back, to give it all I’ve got, and to take pride in my work as an honest performer.” 

9. “People call me wild. Not really though, I’m not. I guess I’ve never been normal, not what you call establishment. I’m country.” 

10. “I’m not bitter. Why should I be bitter? I’m thrilled to death with life.”

11. “Success is having to worry about every damn thing in the world, except money.”

12. “We’re all in this together if we’re in it at all.”

13. “If you aren’t gonna say exactly how and what you feel, you might as well not say anything at all.”

14. “You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it.” 

15. “There’s no way around grief and loss—you can dodge all you want, but sooner or later you just have to go into it, through it, and, hopefully, come out the other side. The world you find there will never be the same as the world you left.”

Famous Johnny Cash Quotes

16. “Close-minded people are part of what’s wrong with this world.”

17. “Life is the question and life is the answer, and God is the reason and love is the way.”

18. “Life and love go on, let the music play.”

19. “You’re so heavenly-minded, you’re no earthly good.”

20. “They’re powerful, those songs. At times they’ve been my only way back, the only door out of the dark, bad places the black dog calls home.”

21. “This morning, with her, having coffee.”

22. “Convicts are the best audience I ever played for.”

23. “Money can’t buy back your youth when you’re old, a friend when you’re lonely, or peace to your soul.”

24. “Six-foot-six, he stood on the ground. He weighed 235 pounds. But I saw that giant of a man, brought down to his knees by love.”

25. “There’s no more simple life with simple choices for the young.”

26. “I don’t believe there are any people on earth who, properly sheltered, don’t feel the peace inside a summer rain and the cleansing it brings, the renewal of the earth in its aftermath.”

27. “What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know goes away, in the end.”

28. “For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide.”

29. “Loneliness is emptiness, but happiness is you.”

30. “If this were a movie, I’d be the bad guy.”

Motivational Johnny Cash Quotes to Live By

31. “Life is rough so you gotta be tough.”

32. “You can ask the people around me. I don’t give up. I don’t give up—and it’s not out of frustration and desperation that I say I don’t give up. I don’t give up because I don’t give up. I don’t believe in it.”

33. “Happiness is being at peace, being with loved ones, being comfortable—but most of all, it’s having those loved ones.”

34. “If you don’t get outside every day, even for a minute, you have not appreciated what God has done. It makes you grateful for your surroundings, and it starts your day differently.”

35. “A person knows when it just seems to feel right to them. Listen to your heart.”

36. “I learn from my mistakes. It’s a very painful way to learn, but without pain, the old saying is, there’s no gain.”

37. “When God forgave me, I figured I’d better do it too.”

38. “The ones that you’re calling wild are going to be the leaders in a little while.”

39. “A rose looks grey at midnight, but the flame is just asleep. And steel is strong because it knows the hammer and white heat.”

40. “It makes me so mad that some people underestimate the wisdom and energy of young people. All because they don’t look the way older folks think they should look. I’m working on a song about it. Maybe some of those closed-minded people will realize long hair and tattoos don’t mean they should be ignored.”

Johnny Cash Quotes on Music and Art

41. “Of emotions, of love, of breakup, of love, and hate, and death, and dying, mama, apple pie, and the whole thing. It covers a lot of territory, country music does.”

42. “I knew I wanted to sing when I was a very small boy. When I was probably four years old. My mother played a guitar and I would sit with her and she would sing and I learned to sing along with her.”

43. “When I record somebody else’s song, I have to make it my own or it doesn’t feel right. I’ll say to myself, ‘I wrote this and he doesn’t know it!’”

44. “It’s like a novelist writing far out things. If it makes a point and makes sense, then people like to read that. But if it’s off in left field and goes over the edge, you lose it. The same with musical talent, I think.”

45. “I love songs about horses, railroads, land, Judgment Day, family, hard times, whiskey, courtship, marriage, adultery, separation, murder, war, prison, rambling, damnation, home, salvation, death, pride, humor, piety, rebellion, patriotism, larceny, determination, tragedy, rowdiness, heartbreak and love. And Mother. And God.”

46. “However, neither he nor anyone else could have become the star Elvis was. Ain’t nobody like Elvis. Never was.”

47. “That was the big thing when I was growing up, singing on the radio. The extent of my dream was to sing on the radio station in Memphis. Even when I got out of the Air Force in 1954, I came right back to Memphis and started knocking on doors at the radio station.”

48. “You’ve got a song you’re singing from your gut, you want that audience to feel it in their gut. And you’ve got to make them think that you’re one of them sitting out there with them too. They’ve got to be able to relate to what you’re doing.”

49. “I start a lot more songs than I finish because I realize when I get into them, they’re no good. I don’t throw them away, I just put them away, store them, get them out of sight.”

Powerful Johnny Cash Quotes About Love

50. “Beneath the stains of time, the feeling disappears, you are someone else I am still right here.”

51. “I thank God for June Carter. I love her with all my heart.”

52. “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine. I keep my eyes wide open all the time. I keep the ends out for the tie that binds. Because you’re mine, I walk the line.”

53. “Backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, I got on my knees and told her that I was going to marry her someday. We were both married to someone else at the time. ‘Ring Of Fire’—June and Merle Kilgore wrote that song for me—that’s the way our love affair was. We fell madly in love and we worked together all the time, toured together all the time, and when the tour was over we both had to go home to other people. It hurt.”

54. “The spirit of June Carter overshadows me tonight with the love she had for me and the love I have for her. We connect somewhere between here and Heaven. She came down for a short visit, I guess, from Heaven to visit with me tonight to give me courage and inspiration like she always has. She’s never been one for me except courage and inspiration.”

55. “There’s unconditional love there. You hear that phrase a lot but it’s real with me and her. She loves me in spite of everything, in spite of myself. She has saved my life more than once.”

56. “Flesh and blood need flesh and blood, and you’re the one I need.”

57. “She’s the greatest woman I have ever known. Nobody else, except my mother, comes close.”

58. “She’s always been there with her love, and it has certainly made me forget the pain for a long time, many times. When it gets dark and everybody’s gone home and the lights are turned off, it’s just me and her.”

59. “Stop your ears and close your eyes and try to find the face of love.”

60. “The fire and excitement may be gone now that we don’t go out there and sing anymore, but the ring of fire still burns around you and I, keeping our love hotter than a pepper sprout.”

61. “The taste of love is sweet when hearts like ours meet.”

62. “Love is a burning thing and it makes a fiery ring.”

63. “I’m not really concerned about boundaries. I just follow my conscience and my heart.”

64. “You still fascinate and inspire me. You’re the object of my desire, the number one earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much.”

Johnny Cash Quotes on His Life and Personality

65. “There’s a lot of things blamed on me that never happened. But then, there’s a lot of things that I did that I never got caught at.”

66. “I’ve always explored various areas of society. And I love the young people. And I had an empathy for prisoners and did concerts for them back when I thought that it would make a difference—you know? That they really were there to be rehabilitated.” 

67. “The beast in me is caged by frail and fragile bars.”

68. “You miss a lot of opportunities by making mistakes, but that’s part of it—knowing that you’re not shut out forever and that there’s a goal you still can reach.”

69. “I love weather. I’m a connoisseur of weather. Wherever my travels take me, the first thing I do is turn on the weather channel and see what’s going on, what’s coming.”

70. “The beer and the wurst were wonderful, but I was dying to be back in the South, where the livin’ was easy, where the fish were jumpin’, where the cotton grew high.”

71. “I’m very shy, really. I spend a lot of time in my room alone reading or writing or watching television.”

72. “I love to go to the studio and stay there 10 or 12 hours a day. I love it. What is it? I don’t know. It’s life.”

73. “I worked there for three weeks, got really sick of it, went back home and joined the Air Force.”

Johnny Cash Quotes About Wearing Black

74. “I wear black because I’m comfortable in it. But then in the summertime when it’s hot, I’m comfortable in light blue.”

75. “I was wearing black clothes almost from the beginning. I feel comfortable in black. I felt like black looked good on stage, that it was attractive, so I started wearing it all the time.”

76. “I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down. Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town. I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime but is there because he’s a victim of the times. I wear the black for those who never read.”

77. “Everybody was wearing rhinestones, all those sparkly clothes, and cowboy boots. I decided to wear a black shirt and pants and see if I could get by with it. I did and I’ve worn black clothes ever since.”

78. “I wear the black in the morning for the lives that could have.”

79. ”Until things are brighter, I’m the man in black.”

80. “Well, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day and tell the world that everything’s okay. But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back.”

Johnny Cash Quotes About God and Heaven

81. “I have tried drugs and a little of everything else, and there is nothing in the world more soul-satisfying than having the kingdom of God building inside you and growing.”

82. “The Master of life has been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where others saw oblivion. He Has given a new purpose to live for, new services to render and old wounds to heal.”

83. “I don’t have Paul’s calling—I’m not out there being all things to all men to win them for Christ—but sometimes I can be a signpost. Sometimes, I can sow a seed. And post-hole diggers and seed sowers are mighty important in the building of the Kingdom.”

84. “We’ll all be equal under the grass, and God’s got a heaven for country trash.”

85. “The gospel of Christ must always be an open door with a welcome sign for all.”

86. “Jesus will not fail me, I shall not be moved.”

87. “How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell. There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man.”

88. “God gives us life, and takes us away as he sees fit.”

89. “There is a spiritual side to me that goes real deep, but I confess right up front that I’m the biggest sinner of them all.”

90. “I read novels but I also read the Bible. And study it, you know? And the more I learn, the more excited I get.”

91. “Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand. Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man. But as sure as God made black and white, what’s down in the dark will be brought to the light.”

92. “And I’d be dead but by God’s grace. Drive on, don’t mean nothin’. My children love me, but they don’t understand. And I got a woman who knows her man. Drive on, don’t mean nothin’, drive on.”

93. “I am not a Christian artist, I am an artist who is a Christian.”

94. “God’s the final judge for Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash too. That’s solely in the hands of God.”

95. “No matter how much you’ve sinned, no matter how much you’ve stumbled, no matter how much you fall, no matter how far you’ve got from God, don’t give up. You can still be redeemed. As someone says, keep the faith.”

Work-Related Johnny Cash Quotes 

96. “This business I’m in is different. It’s special. The people around me feel like brothers and sisters. We hardly know each other, but we’re that close; somehow there’s been an immediate bonding between total strangers. We share each other’s triumphs, and when one of us gets hurt, we all bleed—it’s corny, I know, but it’s true. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. It’s great. It turns up the heat in life.”

97. “When my wife died, I booked myself into the studio just to work, to occupy myself.”

98. “I took the easy way, and to an extent, I regret that. Still, though, the way we did it was honest. We played it and sang it the way we felt it, and there’s a lot to be said for that.”

99. “A song stylist is, like, to take an old folk song like ‘Delia’s Gone,’ and do a modern white man’s version of it.”

Johnny Cash Quotes That Talk About Killing and Hatred

100. “I love the freedoms we got in this country, I appreciate your freedom to burn your flag if you want to, but I really appreciate my right to bear arms so I can shoot you if you try to burn mine.” 

101. “My arms are too short to box with God.”

102. “That he would pause in his killing to go about the business of preparing for the living knowing that he will immediately return to the business of killing?”

103. “It’s good to know who hates you and it is good to be hated by the right people.”

104. “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”

105. “The hardest thing for me in Vietnam wasn’t seeing the wounded and dead. It was watching the big transport jets come in, bringing loads of fresh new boys for the war.”

More Johnny Cash Quotes You’ll Want to Think About

106. “So I simply don’t buy the concept of ‘Generation X’ as the ‘lost generation.’ I see too many good kids out there, kids who are ready and willing to do the right thing, just as Jack was. Their distractions are greater, though.”

107. “‘Truth,’ said the Master, ‘cannot be hid,’ but He didn’t say slap it in the face of my kids.”

108. “The only really frightening thing about Cinnamon Hill belongs in the realm of the living and serves to remind me that some of them—just a few of them, a tiny minority—are much more dangerous than all the dead put together.”

109. “Let me tell you, Mr. Teacher, when you say you’ll make me right, in 500 years of fighting, not one Indian turned white.”

110. “Those that have lived longer than us always have something to teach us, that we can take with us for the rest of our lives.” 

What Do You Think of Johnny Cash’s Worldview and Music?

Johnny Cash was a talented American singer, songwriter, and actor. He was one of the most successful musicians, with over 90 million albums sold worldwide.

He used his life experiences as an inspiration to write outstanding songs. He created pieces about different events and people he met throughout his life. And because of his great work, he is treasured and looked up to even today.

We hope these Johnny Cash quotes taught you the value of music and faith as a source of inspiration. Whatever is going on in your life, keep in mind that God is on your side.

Which of these Johnny Cash quotes is your favorite? Please, share them with us in the comments area below.