Monday, February 27, 2006

"Guess Things Happen That Way" by Johnny Cash

Now, I'll be one of the first ones to admit that I'm not a fan of country music, but there are a couple legendary artists that I respect. One of which is Johnny Cash. Cash is a special case, as he was a crossover artist into rock (rock-and-roll, to be specific) as well.

After spending the past weekend in Memphis, TN, I found myself surrounded by an environment built on blues, rockabilly, soul, and rock-and-roll. On a bus tour, I was able to see the famous Sun Records studio that once housed Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. This event inspired me for this blog. My favorite song by Johnny Cash is definitely "Guess Things Happen That Way." This song doesn't resemble country music at all. It sounds like standard 50's rock. And, this song in particular really shows off Cash's low bass-baritone voice, especially when Cash doubles the low guitar melody during the backing vocal phrase.

The chord structure is very simple, as is typical of 50's rock music, but the arrangement and soulful themed lyrics make the song strong. This song features the formulated "boom-chick-a" rhythm typical of Cash's music, but is made original in the addition of a piano and chorded backing vocals. And, once the soulfulness of Cash's voice is layered on top of it, the song achieves great power meriting it's hit quality.

Though the song's sound may be dated, the theme of the lyrics is clearly not. The lyrics can relate to any man in a relationship or going through a break-up. When Cash sings some of these strong phrases in his mid-high register like, "God gave me that girl to lean on, then he put me on my own," and then he follows it with his haunting and resonant low register; it speaks such great power that can appeal to mass audiences. For one to admit that they will undoubtedly forget one they loved requires so much strength, especially when it's in song form. This personal strength makes Johnny Cash a legend.

Guess Things Happen That Way
by Johnny Cash

Well you ask me if I'll forget my baby.
I guess I will, someday.
I don't like it but I guess things happen that way.

You ask me if I'll get along.
I guess I will, someway.
I don't like it but I guess things happen that way.

God gave me that girl to lean on,
then he put me on my own.
Heaven help me be a man
and have the strength to stand alone.
I don't like it but I guess things happen that way.

You ask me if I'll miss her kisses.
I guess I will, everyday.
I don't like it but I guess things happen that way.

You ask me if I'll find another.
I don't know. I can't say.
I don't like it but I guess things happen that way.

God gave me that girl to lean on,
then he put me on my own.
Heaven help me be a man
and have the strength to stand alone.
I don't like it but I guess things happen that way.

No comments: