Folsom State Prison

Music At Folsom Prison Johnny Cash (album - 1968)
When the song Folsom Prison Blues was released in 1955, Johnny Cash gave a very particular image of himself. Dressed in black, the musician implied that the song was autobiographical and that he had indeed been in prison. What could be more logical, then, than to find him thirteen years later at Folsom Penitentiary for a concert event?
Folsom State Prison
"Folsom Prison 2" by www78 is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

“I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down, livin’ in the hopeless.”

Johnny Cash

The year is 1968. Johnny Cash is going through a bad patch. His recent albums didn’t really work with the public and the drugs took over. June Carter, the singer of the Carter Family, with whom the musician is madly in love, takes matters into her own hands and isolates him with her family for a month in order to wean him off the drugs. When he “wakes up”, in the midst of an epiphany, the Man in Black revives his faith. He then had an idea: to perform in front of prisoners. After all, everyone thinks he’s an ex-con. Although, in reality, his run-ins with the law have never resulted in him spending more than one night behind bars.

On January 13, 1968, Johnny Cash, June Carter and their musicians arrived at the Folsom prison. Two concerts are scheduled: the first at 9:40 am and the second at 12:40 pm. Carl Perkins, the legendary author of Blue Suede Shoes is also on board. The atmosphere is quite good. Especially when the singer sings Folsom Prison Blues.

A little too good even in the opinion of some. They felt that the singer sympathised a bit too much with the prisoners. However, it is said that some of the audience’s screams were added in post-production because in reality, the prisoners were too afraid to be punished and kept relatively quiet during the show. When it was released, the album was a critical and public success. Back on track, Johnny Cash re-offended in 1969 at San Quentin prison and even wrote a song for the occasion in which he condemned the living conditions of the prisoners.


Johnny Cash gave two concerts at Folsom Prison.

Folsom State Prison

The second oldest prison in California, Folsom State Prison has seen some famous prisoners throughout its history.

Folsom State Prison opened in 1880, a few years after San Quentin State Prison. It was the first prison in the United States to have electricity. It was able to hold 2,066 male prisoners and also included a 403-seat wing for ... Learn more about Folsom State Prison

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By Gilles Rolland

Monday, January 3, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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Cult! music: 100 mythical music places [French Edition]

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Head to Melbourne, Australia for a stroll along AC/DC Lane before crossing the iconic Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in the company of The Beatles. Visit Janis Joplin‘s home in San Francisco and find out how Johnny Cash ended up playing his greatest hits to a crowd of prisoners in San Quentin. Travel the winding roads of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and stop in Japan to catch up with Deep Purple, Phil Collins and Daft Punk. Drive down the Tina Turner Highway before entering some of the most legendary studios in music history. Go back to the troubled origins of Billie Holiday and make a pact with Robert Johnson at the famous crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists! Relive the Jimi Hendrix concert on the Isle of Wight before paying tribute to Bob Marley in Jamaica.

Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! musictells the secrets of the places that made the history of music.

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