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Johnny Cash 1970 concert

Johnny Cash 1970 concert

May 9, 1970: Johnny Cash is joined by his wife June Carter during his concert at the Forum in Inglewood.

Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn reported in the May 11, 1970, Los Angeles Times:

The remarkable thing about Johnny Cash is that he has been able to reach his current level of phenomenal popularity without the slightest loss of his artistic integrity.

Normally a performer who begins gaining such heights of popularity in music feels a necessity to change his style in some way under the false assumption that it is the only way to reach a “wider audience.”

Despite the network television show, the string of gold records and the lengthening series of box-office successes, Cash’s show, which filled the Forum on Saturday night, is the same one he has been doing for years. He’s as earthly and authentic as ever.

Except for the addition of his younger brother (Tommy) and some new songs, Saturday’s show featured the same supporting cast and material that first made him a superstar in country music.

The only changes have been in the areas of confidence and polish. Cash now weaves an autobiographical narrative around many of his songs. But he still opens with “Big River,” sings about “Picking Time” and “Folsom Prison Blues” and uses the same background musicians (the steady, infectious rhythm of the Tennessee Three).

It is clear that Cash, based on his record of capacity arenas and audience response, ranks alongside Elvis Presley and Tom Jones as the leading concert attractions in the country. His supporting cast, put together by him over a period of years, forms what may well be the most entertaining touring show on the contemporary scene. …

This photo by retired staff photographer Harry Chase accompanied Hilburn’s column in the May 11, 1970, Los Angeles Times.

For more, check out this article on Johnny Cash at the Los Angeles Times Hollywood Star Walk web site.

scott.harrison@latimes.com

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