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The Daily Need

Photo: The man in black… stripes

Johnny Cash during rehearsal for a show at San Quentin State Prison. Photo: Jim Marshall Photography, LLC

On this day in 1968, Johnny Cash walked through the gates of Folsom State Prison in California and performed a show for the inmates. Accompanied by June Carter and Carl Perkins and the Tennessee Three, he recorded the performance for an album that would be released four months later. Despite little investment by his record label, the album At Folsom Prison became a hit in the U.S. It received rave reviews upon its release and has been acknowledged as one of the greatest albums of all time by several sources, including Rolling Stone, Country Music Television, Blender and Time.

In 2003, the album was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. The same year, At Folsom Prison was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipping more than three million units.

Revered Rock & Roll photographer Jim Marshall accompanied Cash to the Folsom State Prison show, as well as the San Quentin State Prison show a year later in 1969 and chronicled the events. He asked Cash to give him “a picture for the warden” during rehearsal and Cash’s response was captured in this iconic photo. Jim Marshall passed away last year, but you can still browse through his amazing photographs online at

Here’s a clip from the 1969 San Quentin State Prison performance:

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  • Pseudonymtaken

    This was the first album I ever owned that wasn’t Disney. I wanted this and John Lennon’s Imagine. My Dad didn’t like John Lennon. So I got this for my sixth Birthday. (:

  • Anonymous09

    I don’t understand why he flipped off “the warden” or whoever it was he was flipping off. Can someone please explain this? I wasn’t alive when this happened and it just doesn’t make any sense to me.

  • fanofalltrueartist

    This is Mr. Cash flippin’ off the Nashville record machine in the late 80′s early 2000′s when they told him he was no longer viable, just before he signed with Def American Records and did songs by Soundgarden,Trent Reznor etc.
    He was a great artist.

  • fanofalltrueartist

    He was commenting on the prison system.