Lost or Forgotten Oldie of the Day: 1958 Johnny Cash – Ballad Of A Teenage Queen

1958 Johnny Cash – Ballad Of A Teenage Queen

Johnny Cash grew up in Arkansas during the Great Depression. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1950 and worked as a Morse Code operator listening in on Russian transmissions. When he got out of the military, he moved to Memphis. He found work selling appliances while he played guitar and sang with the Tennessee Two: guitar player Luther Perkins and bass player Marshall Grant.

Johnny signed with Sun Records and began recording for Sun in 1955. He had two records reach the Country top forty the first year. So Doggone Lonely reached the top five on the chart and came with Johnny’s studio recording of Folsom Prison Blues on the B-side.

Johnny got his first number one record on the Country chart in 1956 when he wrote and recorded I Walk The Line. The single also reached the Hot 100, where it peaked at #17. Another number one and two more top ten Country singles followed, but it was 1958 before Johnny had much of a presence on the pop chart again.

Jack Clement grew up in Memphis and played steel guitar in bands. He then began pursuing a career in music after a stint in the Marines. Sam Phillips hired Jack as an engineer and producer at Sun Records. Jack discovered Jerry Lee Lewis and produced Whole Lot Of Shakin’ Goin’ On. In 1958, Jack wrote the song Ballad Of A Teenage Queen. He and Sam produced Johnny’s recording of the single with Johnny backed up by the Tennessee Two. The single reached #1 on the Country chart and peaked at #14 on the Hot 100.

In 1987, Johnny recorded a new version of Ballad Of A Teenage Queen with Rosanne Cash and The Everly Brothers singing backup vocals. They released the single in 1989 and it only reached #45 on the Country chart.


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