Johnny Cash


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The album featured stories of a multitude of native peoples, mostly of their violent oppression by white settlers: The Pima ("The Ballad of Ira Hayes"), Navajo ("Navajo"), Apache ("Apache Tears"), Lakota ("Big Foot"), Seneca ("As Long as the Grass Shall Grow"), and Cherokee ("Talking Leaves"). Cash wrote three of the songs himself and one with the help of Johnny Horton, but the majority of the protest songs were written by folk artist Peter La Farge[71] (son of activist and Pulitzer prizewinner Oliver La Farge), whom Cash met in New York in the 1960s and whom he admired for his activism. [72] The album's single, "The Ballad of Ira Hayes" (about Ira Hayes, one of the six to raise the U. S. flag at Iwo Jima), was neglected by nonpolitical radio at the time, and the record label denied it any promotion due to its provocative protesting and "unappealing" nature. [73] Cash faced resistance and was even urged by an editor of a country music magazine to leave the Country Music Association: "You and your crowd are just too intelligent to associate with plain country folks, country artists, and country DJs. "[74]

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