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Johnny Cash: The Legend

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Johnny Cash: The Legend

Johnny Cash: The Legend

The Bottom Line

While not quite the definitive Johnny Cash collection, this four-CD retrospective is possibly the best attempt yet, due to an intriguing sequencing and a playlist that covers more of Cash's career than any other.
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  • All of Cash's big hits and many of his most important album tracks are here.
  • The packaging and remastering are excellent.
  • The sequencing, featuring "theme" CDs that help define Cash's legacy, is unique.


  • None of Cash's '90s recordings on American are represented.
  • A small handful of important songs are missing.


  • Johnny Cash
  • Box set
  • Four disc
  • Country
  • Rockabilly
  • Fifties
  • Sixties
  • Seventies
  • Book and DVD (Deluxe edition only)

Guide Review - Johnny Cash: The Legend

The Man In Black has had dozens of multi-disc compilations of his work (ten in the U.S. alone), and so consumers may be tempted to look the other way on this one. Except that this is the first such retrospective to be released since Cash's death in 2003, and that means the eyes of the world will be on it -- as it should be, since this and all future releases will be expected to define who Johnny was in total, and not just at a moment in time.

To that end, this four-CD comp surpasses even "The Essential Johnny Cash 1955-1983," spanning as it does his entire career over four, not three, discs (licensing rights keep most of Cash's recent, excellent American Recordings work off the set). In addition, this box divides its songs into four categories: Disc One, dubbed "Win, Place and Show - The Hits," starts from "I Walk The Line" and walks through his most accessible songs; Disc Two ("Old Favorites And New") spotlights the singer's strengths in interpreting others' material; Disc Three ("The Great American Songbook") establishes Cash's place in American musical folklore, and the all-duets Disc Four ("Family and Friends") features appearances by June Carter Cash, Bob Dylan, the "Highwaymen" supergroup and more. The divisions can feel a little arbitrary at times, and disc four is naturally a bit of a letdown, considering that much of it is a celebration of Johnny, not an exhibition of his talent. Still, as the largest, boldest intro to the man yet, it works wonders.

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