People have written small libraries on the effect Johnny Cash has had on American music across fifty years, and I don't plan on adding to any of that, because frankly, the music speaks for itself. Perhaps the best compilation of it I've seen is the new The Legend of Johnny Cash, which covers all his hits and significant songs from his first hit "Cry! Cry! Cry!" to his last, genre-busting remake of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt". There's his duet with second wife June Carter on "Jackson", the humorous novelties "A Boy Named Sue" and "One Piece At A Time", and his collaboration with Kris Kristofferson, Waylon & Willie on "The Highwayman". There's the haunting "The Wanderer", off U2's Zooropa album, and an early version of the apocalyptic "The Man Comes Around".
I guess I can sell that four-disc Columbia Records box set. This is all the Cash I could ever want, really.