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Johnny Cash Quotes for Living a Full Life

These Johnny Cash quotes show how the singer viewed the most important things in life; from love, God, music, and life itself.

Johnny Cash was one of the greatest musicians of his time. Cash was an acclaimed songwriter, actor, musician, and author. He was incredibly connected to God and his music, and often combined his love for the two. 

What can we learn about life through seeing Cash’s view of the world?

Johnny Cash was incredibly wise, which might be unexpected to some people, and often spoke about being different and not being afraid to be different. This philosophy eventually influenced his music, as did his relationship with religion.

Through these Johnny Cash quotes, we can gain deeper insight into that way of living. Read them, and don’t forget to also check out our collection of The Beatles quotes that reach for a better world.

Wise Johnny Cash Quotes

1. “All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate… I choose love.” – Johnny Cash

2. “Life and love go on, let the music play.” – Johnny Cash

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

4. “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.” – Johnny Cash

5. “I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way.” – Johnny Cash

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

7. “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.” – Johnny Cash

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

9. “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on 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.” – Johnny Cash

10. “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.” – Johnny Cash

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

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

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Johnny Cash Quotes About the Realities of Living Life

13. “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on 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.” – Johnny Cash

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14. “I’m not bitter. Why should I be bitter? I’m thrilled to death with life.” – Johnny Cash

15. “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.” – Johnny Cash

16. “What have I become, my sweetest friend. Everyone I know goes away, in the end.” – Johnny Cash

17. “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.” – Johnny Cash

18. “God gives us life and takes us away as he sees fit.” – Johnny Cash

19. “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.” – Johnny Cash

20. “You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it.” – Johnny Cash

21. “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.” – Johnny Cash

22. “Life is rough so you gotta be tough.” – Johnny Cash

23. “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.” – Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash Quotes About Music

24. “Of emotions, of love, of breakups, of love and hate and death and dying, mama, apple pie, and the whole thing. It covers a lot of territory, country music does.” – Johnny Cash

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

26. “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.” – Johnny Cash

27. “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.” – Johnny Cash

28. “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.” – Johnny Cash

29. “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.” – Johnny Cash

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30. “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.” – Johnny Cash

31. “I knew I wanted to sing when I was a very small boy. When I was probably 4 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.” – Johnny Cash

32. “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.” – Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash Quotes About Love

33. “For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide.” – Johnny Cash

34. “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. 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.” – Johnny Cash

35. “Loneliness is emptiness, but happiness is you.” – Johnny Cash

36. “We’re all in this together if we’re in it at all.” – Johnny Cash

37. “Happiness is being at peace, being with loved ones, being comfortable… but most of all, it’s having those loved ones.” – Johnny Cash

38. “Flesh and blood needs flesh and blood, and you’re the one I need.” – Johnny Cash

39. “A person knows when it just seem to feel right to them. Listen to your heart.” – Johnny Cash

40. “I’m not really concerned about boundaries. I just follow my conscience and my heart. 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.” – Johnny Cash

41. “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.” – Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash Quotes About Religion and Spirituality

42. “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.” – Johnny Cash

43. “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.” – Johnny Cash

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

45. “My arms are too short to box with God.” – Johnny Cash

46. “Creative people have to be fed from the divine source. I have to get fed. I had to get filled up in order to pour out.” – Johnny Cash

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47. “You’re so heavenly minded, you’re no earthly good.” – Johnny Cash

48. “I am not a Christian artist, I am an artist who is a Christian.” – Johnny Cash

49. “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.” – Johnny Cash

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

51. “Life is the question and life is the answer, and God is the reason, and love is the way.” – Johnny Cash

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52. “As sure as God made black and white, what’s done in the dark will be brought to the light.” – Johnny Cash

More Johnny Cash quotes and sayings

53. “When God forgave me, I figured I’d better do it too.” – Johnny Cash

54. “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.” – Johnny Cash

55. “It’s good to believe in yourself, but there are people out there who can make or break you.” – Johnny Cash

56. “The beast in me Is caged by frail and fragile bars.” – Johnny Cash

57. “Inside the walls of a prison my body may be, but my Lord has set my soul free.” – Johnny Cash

58. “The battle against the dark one and the clinging to the right one is what my life is about.” – Johnny Cash

59. “It was kind of a prodding myself to play I Walk The Line straight.” – Johnny Cash

60. “Understand your man, meditate on it.” – Johnny Cash

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

How can Cash’s outlook on life influence our own?

From a music legend, these Johnny Cash quotes combine all of his life’s philosophies into ideas that we can apply to our own lives. From his relationship with religion to his relationship with music, and how he went from being judged by people around him to selling more than 90 million records worldwide, this creative genius has a lot to teach about life.

Johnny Cash had a very positive, yet abrasive life outlook, basically stating that life is meant to be lived, and it’s up to us to enjoy it and spin our outlook to encompass that. He was a very religious person, and although that wasn’t the focus of his music, both things influenced him greatly. It’s up to us to accept what he has to say and allow it to change our lives.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these wise Johnny Cash quotes? Do you have any other favorite quotes to add? Let us know in the comment section below.

Halle Homel
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