Performing for the most powerful person in the world would make any artist nervous. However, in the case of country music legend Johnny Cash, that couldn’t be further from the case.
Performing for former President Richard Nixon, Cash delivered a spectacular performance of his classic “A Boy Named Sue” at the White House on April 17, 1970.
The country singer captivated the president with his performance of the playful song that tells the story of a man out to seek revenge on his father who named him “Sue” before disappearing out of his life forever. The video recording portrays the flawless nature of Cash’s voice that needs no editing or glitz.
The country singer formally met the president two years later to discuss prison reform. After much discussion on the topic, Cash performed three songs for the president including “Man in Black” and “The Ballad of Ira Hayes.”
Prior to their meeting, Cash testified at senate urging the need for more compassion be given towards first-time offenders committing less serious crimes.
“A first offender needs to know that somebody cares for him and that he is given a fair shake,” Cash said according to Mental Floss. “The purpose behind prison reform should be to have less crime. The prisoner has to be treated like a human being. If he isn’t when he gets out, he won’t act like one.”
You can listen to his performance of “A Boy Named Sue” below.
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