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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Family Members and Country Stars Remember Johnny Cash

Aired November 11, 2003 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNNY CASH: Hello. I'm Johnny Cash.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LARRY KING, HOST: The world lost a legend when Johnny Cash died. Rosanne Cash lost her father. Tonight, Rosanne Cash in her first sit- down interview since her the death of Johnny Cash. And joining her later to share special memories of the giant he also called Dad, John Carter Cash, Johnny's only son and the only child he had with June Carter Cash. Plus, Glen Campbell, the country superstar who performed with Johnny on TV; country star Dwight Yoakam, Johnny's favorite male vocalist; and another young country star, Travis Tritt, who idolized Johnny Cash. And they're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

First half of the show we're going to spend with Rosanne Cash. And the second half, we'll be joined by John Carter Cash and Glen Campbell, Dwight Yoakam and Travis Tritt. Johnny Cash died Friday, September 12, at the age of 71 from complications of diabetes. And this weekend, his life will be celebrated in a television special on CMT. It'll air Saturday night at 8:00 o'clock Eastern and Pacific time.

And that program was taped -- was it in Nashville, Rosanne?

ROSANNE CASH, JOHNNY CASH'S DAUGHTER: Right. Last night.

KING: What -- how many -- a lot of people participated?

R. CASH: Oh, so many great artists! Everybody from Kid Rock to George Jones, and literally, that entire spectrum. It was wonderful.

KING: That's a spectrum.

R. CASH: That's a spectrum. And that was the spectrum that my dad influenced and that -- and he also respected. It was all those artists. Sheryl Crow was there.

KING: Let's go back a little. Your mother was who?

R. CASH: Vivian Laberto (ph) was her maiden name.

KING: And she had three children with...

R. CASH: Four. Four daughters. KING: Four?

R. CASH: I'm the oldest of four daughters.

KING: Do you all get along?

R. CASH: Oh, yes. We're very close. Yes.

KING: And did you get along with June Carter?

R. CASH: Very well. She was -- she was a wonderful stepmother. She gave -- I don't think I would have ever been a performer without her influence, actually.

KING: Really?

R. CASH: Yes.

KING: How do you mean?

R. CASH: Because she was so natural about it and she was such an elegant and very exuberant person, and performing was just part of her everyday life. And I loved that approach to it.

KING: Your mother still living?

R. CASH: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. I'm very close to my mother.

KING: And was she friendly with Johnny?

R. CASH: Yes. In fact, they -- they saw each other about two months before he died and had a very nice meeting, a kind of a farewell.

KING: Did you know he was dying?

R. CASH: Well, yes. I mean, he was sick for a long time. We had 10 years of illness and so...

KING: The last time we had him on -- and we'll play it, of course, later, I'm sure...

R. CASH: Yes. That was a beautiful interview, by the way.

KING: Thank you.

R. CASH: And you know, there were a lot of those trips to the hospital where you're not sure because he came back from the edge of death so many times. It was -- he's like a phoenix.

KING: So you didn't know for sure.

R. CASH: That last -- that last week, it was -- you know, we knew that he...

KING: Did they call you in to the hospital? R. CASH: Yes. I made it. I was in New York, and I got there in time to be with him when he passed.

KING: Were you with him when he passed?

R. CASH: Yes.

KING: What was it like? Was that...

R. CASH: Oh, boy!

KING: Peaceful?

R. CASH: Well, I think peaceful death is an euphemism when you're in a hospital, really, you know, because of machines and because of his long illness. But he was peaceful. He had so much faith, you know, of what was going to happen to his spirit, where his spirit was going. And he had a great deal of peace from that, and that gave us a great deal of peace. You know, I got to believe that somebody's whose faith is that deep and strong gets what he believes.

KING: Do you have that faith?

R. CASH: It's not exactly like my father's. I respect his faith. I think I'm -- I think I dabble more than he did, spiritually.

KING: More skeptical?

R. CASH: Maybe not more skeptical, but more searching.

KING: All right, now, you grew up in the first household. And then when Johnny got divorced from your mom...

R. CASH: Yes.

KING: ... did you continue to live with your mother?

R. CASH: Right, until I graduated from high school.

KING: Were you always close with your dad?

R. CASH: Oh, yes. Worshipped my dad.

KING: Was the divorce difficult for you?

R. CASH: You know, I'm sure it was, but I remember at 12 years old thinking -- having some relief and thinking, Well, now maybe they both can be happy, because it was very difficult circumstances. My dad was on the road all the time. He had substance abuse problems. They were very young when they got married. I don't know that any marriage could have survived that. The tension grew too great.

KING: How did the abuse problems affect you?

R. CASH: Well, as a...

KING: You were the oldest daughter?

R. CASH: Yes. As a child, I didn't really know what it was. I knew something was wrong. But you know, in that time, in the '60s, early '60s, didn't really know what drugs -- what it was about.

KING: Yes. It was just coming on the scene.

R. CASH: Yes, and it was just, Something's not quite right about Dad when he comes home. He's -- you know. And then later on, when you can intellectually figure it out...

KING: Did you realize how big a star he was?

R. CASH: Yes. I realized that I shared him with the world and...

KING: In other words, if you went somewhere with him, he was recognized.

R. CASH: Yes. And he was always so very, very gracious about it, more gracious than anybody I've ever seen in this business.

KING: Very accessible superstar.

R. CASH: He was unfailingly polite. I never saw him in his life be rude to a fan, no matter how intrusive or how, you know, just, you know, aggressive. He was unfailingly gracious.

KING: What did you think of his voice?

R. CASH: What did I think of his voice?

KING: Yes. I mean, it wasn't a voice you heard every day.

R. CASH: His voice is like my DNA. His voice is like my bloodstream. His voice is what feels like home to me.

KING: It's sunk in to us, in a -- you're a singer. You've had a lot of hits. How would you describe him?

R. CASH: Describe his -- that particular voice, that resonance?

KING: Yes. It penetrated you.

R. CASH: It did. But it's so inextricably bound with Daddy, you know, that I can't step out of that and say, as a music critic, what it really is because...

KING: So you can't do a judgment call on it.

R. CASH: Yes, it's like the rhythm of my bloodstream.

KING: Because he told me he wasn't a bass.

R. CASH: No, he's not a bass. He's more a baritone. Technically. (LAUGHTER)

KING: Right now, you know, there's a commercial everywhere with this...

(CROSSTALK)

R. CASH: With "I've Been Everywhere." I love that song!

KING: And I asked if that was one of -- that wasn't one of his hits, right?

R. CASH: No. It was a Hank Snow (ph) hit, I believe, a long time ago. But you know, when he started working with Rick Ruben (ph) and he got to record some of those old standards and old songs that he loved, that was one that he recorded.

KING: Does it bother you that that commercial is everywhere?

R. CASH: No.

KING: Because they're sure loading it out.

R. CASH: No. It's fine. I like -- in fact, I just saw it for the first time in your make-up room.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Was he a difficult -- was he tough with his kids? What kind of...

R. CASH: No.

KING: Not a disciplinarian.

R. CASH: No.

KING: Warm?

R. CASH: Oh, the most affectionate father you can imagine! So warm. If he was angry or you did something that was out of line, he would get very quiet and think about it for a long time before he talked to you about it, you know? And he had a great deal of respect for his children. He would never assume to, you know, be authoritarian. He figured you were an equal spirit on the planet. You know, you got to figure out your own mistakes.

KING: Did you go watch him sing a lot?

R. CASH: Oh, yes. I sat in the wings many, many nights.

KING: What a hoot that must have been.

R. CASH: Yes. It was an education. It really was.

KING: Now, when he met June Carter -- and he knew June Carter, right?.

R. CASH: Yes.

KING: Did you like that right away? Did you get along with her right away?

R. CASH: Yes. I mean, as a child...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ... that's a difficult thing.

R. CASH: Right. I didn't have a concept of romantic entanglements or, you know, that stuff. She was a lovely person. She liked us. She -- you know -- obviously, when I got older and I saw their relationship, you know, it was -- they had a very rare relationship.

KING: They sure did. Amazing. Professional and personal.

R. CASH: That's right. And they were not modern in the way that they would go off and do things separately or even travel separately. They were always together.

KING: We'll be right back with Rosanne Cash. The panel will join us later. And we'll take some calls for Rosanne, as well. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That's the from the new CD, right? "Rules of Travel." Did you like singing with him?

R. CASH: I did. You know, I'd avoided doing it professionally for my own records for most of my -- for all of my career, virtually.

KING: Because you wanted your own...

R. CASH: Yes. And I didn't want to take advantage of my dad and I didn't want to invite, you know, those kind of criticisms. So it was a stretch for me to ask him to do this, and it was my husband who really encouraged me to ask him to sing on "September When It Comes." And so I said, You know, you're right. John, my husband, said, If there was ever a song and a time, this is it. It was -- turned out to be a precious song. And...

KING: Is he in the business, your husband?

R. CASH: Yes, he's a record producer, musician. So I called Dad and I said, Dad, I've got this song. You know, Would you like to sing it me with me? And he said, Well, I'll have to read the lyrics first.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Like he's going to turn down his daughter.

R. CASH: He might have! He's an artist first.

KING: Now, June went first, right? June died four months before...

R. CASH: Yes. May 15th she died.

KING: How did he handle that?

R. CASH: He was just devastated. It was our biggest fear, my sisters and my brother and I, that he would follow her, you know, and basically, he did.

KING: Do you buy that, sometimes when the spouse goes...

R. CASH: I do. I do. Particularly people who are as close as they were.

KING: And you also lost an aunt, Johnny's sister?

R. CASH: My Aunt Louise died five weeks before June, my dad's older sister.

KING: And then your stepsister?

R. CASH: My stepsister, Rosy (ph), died last month. So we've had a season of loss in our family.

KING: How do you deal with it?

R. CASH: I don't know. I think grief is its own universe. You just have to live with it. I'm learning from friends of mine who've lost parents, you know, and I talk to them and my husband, and I don't think you can do anything except just live with it.

KING: Does singing help?

R. CASH: It helps me. I feel very grateful that I have music. And you know, I started writing a cycle of songs about loss, death and loss, since all of these deaths started happening, and that has really helped me a tremendous amount.

KING: Are you -- were you -- when you say June had a lot to do with making you sing -- did you sing as a kid? Were you singing in grade school and...

R. CASH: No. I never wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be a writer. That's all I cared about.

KING: Write songs?

R. CASH: Well, originally, write prose. But then, when I learned to play guitar, I thought, Well, being a songwriter is a very noble profession...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: So when did you know you could sing?

R. CASH: Oh, I was about 35. I was well -- 20 years into my career!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) thought you were a singer?

R. CASH: I -- it wasn't my original intent to be a singer, so I kind of woke 15 years into my career and went, Oh, my God. I'm a singer. You know, I guess I better pay some attention to this.

KING: Did you have a hit right away?

R. CASH: Yes, I did. I had a big hit the first -- my first record -- second record, "Seven-Year Ache." That was in '81.

KING: Was Johnny very proud?

R. CASH: He told me he was. I assume he was.

KING: Did you concertize together?

R. CASH: No. When I was a kid, yes, when I was on the road with him. But no, not in my own work.

KING: Because you wanted that separation?

R. CASH: Oh, very much. We did a couple of special things together. He asked me to sing with him at Carnegie Hall last time he played there a few years ago. And we did this benefit for one of my daughter's schools in New York, and together, it was kind of an acoustic songwriters' thing, which was really fun. So there were a few special things.

KING: And you're going to sing at the Nobel Peace Prizes?

R. CASH: Yes, I am.

KING: In Oslo?

R. CASH: Yes. With the Chieftains. They invited me to sing with them at the awards.

KING: What an honor.

R. CASH: Oh! This is the world I want to move into!

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Let's take some calls for Rosanne Cash. Remember, we'll be joined at the bottom of the hour by Dwight Yoakam and John Carter Cash and Glen Campbell and Travis Tritt.

We go to Cote St. Luc, Quebec. Hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. My question for Rosanne is what should we be doing to remember Johnny Cash, to perpetuate his memory?

R. CASH: Wow.

KING: Have any thoughts? Statue in Nashville? Something.

R. CASH: Wow. You know, we just did this tribute last night, so that's the thing that's freshest in my mind, is these great artists singing his songs and honoring those songs and his body of work. So that -- that to me was really magnificent.

KING: Do you think they'll name a street on him?

R. CASH: They already did, Johnny Cash Parkway. You're late on that, Larry.

KING: In Nashville?

R. CASH: Yes.

KING: Late on that.

(LAUGHTER)

R. CASH: But to honor him? I don't know. I...

KING: How about a school in...

R. CASH: Listen to his music.

KING: Got to name a school in there.

R. CASH: There you go.

KING: Pleasanton, California. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hi, Rosanne.

R. CASH: Hi.

CALLER: I got to see your father four different times, and I just loved him. I saw him with June twice and with the Highwaymen twice. And he was the one that got me started on country music, him and Glen Campbell. So my question is, did you call June Mom or did you call her by her name, June?

R. CASH: I called her June. That's an interesting way to get to that question! But no, you know, I had -- I have respect for my own mother, who I call Mom. I called June June.

KING: I think they said St. Jude, Newfoundland. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Good evening...

KING: St. John's, Newfoundland. I'm sorry. Go ahead.

CALLER: Yes. Good evening, Rosanne. R. CASH: Good evening.

CALLER: Yes. I'm just wondering, what would be one of your favorite memories of your father?

R. CASH: From my whole life? Oh, wow!

KING: You've done so many things together.

R. CASH: Yes. You know, he -- he -- when I was a teenager -- I told this on the show last night. When I was a teenager, I was lying on the bed in my room and reading a book on astrology. And he walked in and -- you know, my dad's a Southern Baptist. He walked in and he said, Well, what are you reading? And I showed him the book. And I said, You don't believe in this, do you. And he said, No, but I think you should find out everything you can about it. And I thought -- I based my entire philosophy of parenting on that one comment, just that wide open...

KING: Why?

R. CASH: ... permission.

KING: Go find out?

R. CASH: Find out for yourself, yes. It was such a beautiful thing.

KING: Boy, that's a great learning tool.

R. CASH: It really was.

KING: We'll be right back with more moments with Rosanne Cash. She'll remain with us when our panel joins us, as well. We'll go to some more phone calls, too, on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: That hard to look at?

R. CASH: Yes. You know, I'm...

KING: By the way, some of the clips you saw tonight come from an upcoming PBS special called "The Appalachians." And a reminder that last night's Nashville tribute to Johnny will air on CMT this Saturday at 8:00 PM Eastern and Pacific. We also want to thank Alan Stoker (ph) and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville for providing a lot of the video that you're watching tonight.

Let's take another call for Rosanne Cash. Council Bluffs, Iowa. Hello.

CALLER: Larry, thank you for taking my call.

KING: Sure. CALLER: Rosanne, my prayers with you and all of your family.

R. CASH: Thank you.

CALLER: I just loved your father so much. He meant so much to me, and I just feel like we have all had such a tragic loss of such a remarkable human being. My question is, what was your father's favorite song? And thank you.

R. CASH: Oh, favorite song of all time? Gosh, it would have been had to have been a gospel song, I'm sure.

KING: It wasn't "I Walked the Line."

R. CASH: Oh...

KING: Which he never really flipped for.

(LAUGHTER)

R. CASH: His favorite singer, he always said was, Sister Rosetta Tharp (ph), who was an old blues gospel singer. Gosh, you know what? When my brother comes out, he may know the answer to that. I'm sure it's a gospel song, though.

KING: To Marlton, New Jersey. Hello.

CALLER: Rosanne, hi.

R. CASH: Hi.

CALLER: I grew up much like a dad like you had. My father just idolized your dad. And I wanted to ask you if you would ever consider a CD or a video in tribute with, like, everything -- with "Hurt" on it and...

R. CASH: With all of his videos, you mean, and like...

CALLER: With all his songs, everything, like "Ring of Fire," just like a whole tribute.

R. CASH: Yes. I mean, that's a wonderful idea. And you know, after the show last night, they're actually talking about doing DVDs and things like that and, you know, more things for fans to collect and enjoy.

KING: A couple of other things before the panel joins us. When was the last time you talked to him?

R. CASH: To my dad?

KING: Yes.

R. CASH: Well, the day he died.

KING: Oh, you spoke to him that day? R. CASH: Yes. Well, when I -- in the hospital. A real conversation was a few days before that.

KING: And did he say anything? Did he...

R. CASH: He was feeling not -- you know, by that time, he was feeling pretty bad, so...

KING: Think he knew he was going?

R. CASH: Yes, I think he did. The last real conversation we had was about this gospel record he wanted to make. You know, he was making plans to record a couple more albums -- an album of Appalachian music and an album of gospel music. And he was always into his songs, you know, thinking about great songs and playing with them and singing them. So we would sit around and play old Appalachian songs.

KING: Is the family that's left close?

R. CASH: Very close.

KING: Like, John will be coming out. Are you close with him?

R. CASH: Very close. And if anything -- I mean, we've had our challenges with all of this. It's been so shocking and difficult. But if anything, it's drawn all of us closer together.

KING: He is someone easily missed, right?

R. CASH: Easily missed?

KING: Because he talked about shadows in his life and leaving it. He left...

R. CASH: An enormous shadow. But I don't think he will ever be gone. Johnny Cash will never be gone.

KING: Yes. We've always got his music.

R. CASH: We always will have him. And his spirit, too. It's like my sister said to me the other day, you know, when there was something really difficult going on, some tense moment. And she says, Look for Dad in you. He's still here. What would he do? He'd just rise above it.

KING: We're going to take a break, and when we come back, Rosanne remains. We'll be joined by John Carter Cash, Glen Campbell, Dwight Yoakam and Travis Tritt. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the award for Music Video of the Year, Single of the Year...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Album of the Year goes to...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm wearing his necklace tonight. "Hurt," Johnny Cash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "Hurt," Johnny Cash.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "As It Should Be," Johnny Cash.

JOHN CARTER R. CASH, JOHNNY CASH'S SON: It's amazing that my father had such a life that he could expose himself and still never lose his dignity and his charm and his beauty that was in his spirit. My father could take any song, it seemed, and he could look at it, and he could know if it would work for him or not. And it was -- he had that amazing way of taking the most, you know, un-thought-of songs and turning them into his own.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CASH: Hello. I'm John Carter Cash's daddy!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back on this tribute to Johnny Cash.

Joining -- Rosanne Cash remains with us. The singer, songwriter, author and daughter of the country music legend.

Joining us now, here in L.A., John Carter Cash, son of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

In Phoenix, Arizona is Glen Campbell with his famed guitar. He performed with Johnny on television. Glen's got a great new four-CD box set out titled "Legacy." It covers his first 41 years -- there you see the cover -- in the country music industry. The box set getting high marks from music critics.

In L.A., Dwight Yoakam, a modern country music megastar, fan and colleague of Johnny Cash. Yoakam also quite an actor, receiving critical acclaim for terrific roles in "Panic Room" and "Slingblade."

And in Atlanta is Travis Tritt, who idolized Cash as a kid, performed with him on stage as an adult. He was one of dozen of performers who celebrated Johnny Cash's life and music last night in Nashville as part of that CMT TV special.

What was it like for you, last night, John?

J. CASH: I was amazed. You know, it was a very fitting tribute full of, you know, heart and respect. Everybody that was there, you know, pretty much that was performing was a good friend of my father's for so many years.

KING: Were you with dad when he passed?

J. CASH: Yes. Yes, I was. KING: Was that a tough day for you?

J. CASH: It's hard, yes. I mean, there's -- you know, there's no defining to a person that hasn't lost a parent what it's like to lose one. But, you know, it's -- yes, it was heart wrenching. I mean, consciously letting someone go is -- takes a period of time, you know.

KING: He had such faith, though.

J. CASH: He did, and never lost that faith. I felt like he was, you know, holding on for the people that he loved a lot for a long time.

KING: Glen Campbell, as one performer to another, what, in your opinion was, Johnny's Cash's greatness?

GLEN CAMPBELL, SINGER: He had charisma like Elvis Presley.

I saw Johnny Cash in 1959 at the Armory in the -- it wasn't the armory. It was a place in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and when I saw Johnny Cash, I just -- my mouth was just open the entire show. He had such charisma, it was just incredible. And he was the most incredible, down to Earth, nice guy that you would ever meet in your life. And I tell you, he was just something else.

KING: And how about his singing voice?

CAMPBELL: Oh, it was just incredible. I had the -- I had done "Highwayman on Capital," an album and they wouldn't release "Highwayman" as a single. So Waylon Jennings lived down here -- anyway, to make a long story short -- I went back and vocal on that in Nashville for Johnny Cash on "The Highwayman," you know? "I was a sailor" and Chris' part, of course. But I put down a play vocal on that because of Jimmy Webb (ph) and because I thought the song was so strong.

And just to be around Johnny Cash was -- it was a big thrill. He was just a straight shooter.

KING: Dwight Yoakam, when Johnny Cash was on this show, I asked him who his favorite was. Listen to his answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CASH: My favorite male artist would be Dwight Yoakam.

KING: Good actor, too.

JOHNNY CASH: Isn't he great?

KING: Can be a scary guy.

JOHNNY CASH: Yes.

KING: He can sing, though.

JOHNNY CASH: Oh, he's terrific, yes.

KING: And he's a real cowboy, you know?

JOHNNY CASH: I know he is. He is.

KING: Are you friends?

JOHNNY CASH: Yes. We're friends.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DWIGHT YOAKAM, ENTERTAINER: I'm thinking my entire career I heard about it people that saw the show air that night and saw it sometime later, and even though I've been told that he said that, I couldn't have been prepared in my life.

You know, I feel a little bit of an interloper here with Rosanne and John Carter, only because this is still about a man who was a father and a member of a family. And we as the public owned him in another way and will always have him. And I grew up -- one of the earliest albums I ever remember seeing and holding in my hand was a Gold Sun collection, the songs that made him famous, his very famous album cover. And he never wasn't in my ear as a kid. You know, I don't remember there not being a Johnny Cash.

KING: Did you sing with him?

YOAKAM: Never sang with him. He sang on a bill -- we were in Montrose (ph), Switzerland when I finally met in person. What a strange, peculiar place to be with Johnny Cash. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the person with the jazz festival. And I have to tell you something. Johnny Cash was, as Rosanne said, as gracious to anybody he met.

KING: Yes.

YOAKAM: As he would have been to the president of the United States or to the king and queen of England.

My father was there and happened to be there. They were both old G.I.s who I like to call hillbilly cats because they were the guys nit he post-World War era that kind of were in the occupation army, that saw the world and by osmosis picked up a sort of sophistication. And in reading his biography some years later, I was amazed how intelligent and how -- the intellect that he had.

KING: Travis Tritt, you idolized him as a kid too, right?

TRAVIS TRITT, SINGER: Absolutely. We -- I was one of the generation, like so many others, that welcomed John into our living rooms every Sunday night with "The Johnny Cash Show." and he was a big influence right from the get-go for me.

I mean, he was -- he was bigger than life, on screen and on television. And to meet him in person -- he was exactly the same way. Even though he was exactly as everyone else has said tonight, extremely gracious. He was one of those people that could literally walk into the room and without trying, just take the air out of the room and everybody knew he was there. He had such magnetism and charisma, it was unbelievable.

KING: What was it like to sing with him?

TRITT: Oh, it was a wonderful opportunity. I was fortunate enough to be friends with not only John, but also, Waylon and Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson. And on a few opportunities throughout the years when they were touring as the Highwaymen, we would cross paths either out on the road or they would come through Atlanta, which is my hometown. And if I wasn't on the road, we would hook up and I'd go out and sing a few songs with the Highwaymen and just what a thrill that was.

KING: Yes.

TRITT: Just any time to be around John or any of that bunch, really, was just a tremendous honor.

KING: Rosanne, how good a guitarist was he?

R. CASH: For Johnny Cash, he was perfect.

KING: Not a great guitar player, right?

R. CASH: No.

J. CASH: Quit lying, Rosanne. Nobody could play like him.

R. CASH: That's for sure. Nobody played like him.

KING: I'm not a musicologist, so break that down for me.

R. CASH: Well, he was -- you know, he played rhythm with that thumb. It was a backbeat thing. It wasn't a virtuoso thing.

KING: Like Campbell is a virtuoso guitar player.

R. CASH: Right. My dad was not like that.

J. CASH: It was simple....

R. CASH: He didn't need to be.

J. CASH: Yes. It was simple. You know, it was also something that stuck with your soul. You know? His style.

KING: You knew it was him.

J. CASH: Yes. You knew it was him.

YOAKAM: Masterful.

J. CASH: And he did simple things.

YOAKAM: And left a fingerprint on American music and music around the world with that guitar.

I remember the night when he did out here -- at the Viper Room he did the acoustic show. I didn't realize I was there with -- and he was so nervous. I said -- he said, I've never done this. And he put the piece of paper between the springs to show everyone in this rock n roll club out here on the strip how he was playing.

They didn't have a drummer. He played rhythm with the paper. If you listen to -- "I Walk The Line" that's the rhythm. He was the snare drum.

KING: Now, Glen, you're an accomplished guitarist. Did Cash have an inimitable sound?

CAMPBELL: Oh, he did. He was very, very unique.

And he -- his rhythm was just impeccable. It was right on. It was right in the groove and it should have been hit where it was hit and Johnny Cash was -- he was one of the people that just -- he was like an Elvis in that sense. You know? He just had the timing. He had the voice. He had the phrasing.

KING: John, what kind of father was he?

J. CASH: He was dedicated.

KING: I notice you're holding hands with your stepsister.

J. CASH: Yes...

R. CASH: Half sister.

KING: Half sister.

J. CASH: Half sister. He lived by example, you know? I mean, he -- he always laid out a wonderful example for people to follow. I think that the most wonderful trait that I could say about our father was that he had a sticktoitveness. He had a tenacity that even in the face of pain and the face of misery, that he never stopped. He kept on.

KING: Because those last years were rough.

R. CASH: They were.

J. CASH: Spent a lot of time in the studio, you know, just -- even though it was hard for him sometimes to record, he never slowed down.

KING: We're going to take a break, and when we come back, include phone calls for our distinguished panel. What a group.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(SINGING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MUSIC)

KING: That was the old Glen Campbell TV show and Johnny Cash was the guest.

Pretty good night. Yeah. Let's take a call. Junction, Texas, hello.

CALLER: Yes.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: I wanted to tell Rosanne I think she's her daddy's daughter.

KING: She is.

CALLER: Oh, absolutely. She needs to keep it up. I wanted to ask her how she feels when disk jockeys and people say that her dad couldn't really sing, but that he had a style.

R. CASH: Well, I would disagree most wholeheartedly.

KING: He was both?

R. CASH: He was both. He was a great stylist, but, you know. He had an unusually resonant voice, and -- you know...

KING: Hold on. I'm hearing -- I'm hearing him, at the same time I can't hear Rosanne. Can we lower the sound on the tape? OK.

R. CASH: Well, you know, you don't have to be classically trained to be a great opera singer to be a great singer. My dad was truly a great singer.

KING: Travis, how great a singer was he? Singer?

TRITT: I think he was a fabulous singer. He was one of those guys who was distinctive, you could recognize him immediately, as soon as you -- as soon as you heard one -- one note from a Johnny Cash song on the radio, you recognized that voice and I think that makes a great singer. I think people that have that type of ability to capture people's attention right off the bat, that's something that's very unique. You don't hear it a lot these days in a lot of the things that you hear on modern radio. And to have that ability is wonderful.

KING: It's more than style, Dwight?

YOAKAM: Yeah. Absolutely. You know, when you listen to "Ballad of a Teenage Queen," when you listen to "Guess Things Happen That Way," you hear him really, really singing and singing in a unique way. And he was an outsider on all levels, I think, and spoke for those who were outside the mainstream of life. KING: Yeah.

YOAKAM: And his -- I think his voice was that for everybody.

KING: Roanoke, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: I desperately disagree with that caller that just called in. Rosanne and John, my heart goes out to you. My question is, is there anything that you didn't get to say to your dad that you wish you could have?

J. CASH: Oh, gosh. Yeah, you -- you know, I mean, you always look back and you have regrets, I believe. You know? I mean, but -- but I think that's human. I mean, in the face of struggle and adversity, we always don't always do just the right thing that we would have ourselves do. You know?

KING: You always say I should have...

J. CASH: Right, I should have, I would have. But you know, we always loved each other, our family did. You know.

KING: You always knew that? He knew he was loved.

J. CASH: Yeah, there was no faltering point, and, you know, and my mother's and father's love was unconditional and they taught us that. So.

KING: Badger, Minnesota, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry. Hi, John. Hi, Rosanne. I'm so glad -- I can't believe I got through. I was -- one thing that my heart and prayers are with you and your family.

R. CASH: Thank you.

CALLER: We loved Johnny. Back in '85, he was in my hometown in South Dakota. And your -- June and your father were so gracious, and I got a picture of your father and June with my two boys that we will treasure forever.

R. CASH: That's very sweet. I'm glad.

KING: Do you have a question, ma'am?

CALLER: Yes. Are there any songs that John left behind that anybody plans on...

KING: Good question.

J. CASH: Lots. There are a lot of them.

KING: Lots?

J. CASH: Yeah.

KING: That he recorded?

J. CASH: Yes. My father -- there may be two or three albums left out there.

KING: Really?

J. CASH: Yeah. When -- I mean, even after my mother died, my father called me a few days later and said, I want to get to work. I want to start making music.

KING: So there may be more CDs?

R. CASH: Oh, "Unearthed" is coming out.

J. CASH: Yeah, there's a five-CD box set.

R. CASH: Five-CD box set coming out around Christmas time.

J. CASH: Will be out just very soon. And then "American Five," the fifth American record will be out next year. We're actually starting to edit it this week.

KING: Glen, it's like inexhaustible. We're never going to run out of Johnny Cash. We're going to go to break now. Glen has got the guitar so he's going to play a Johnny Cash song, we're going to hear about 30, 40 seconds of this. Which one are you going to do?

CAMPBELL: I'll do the part on "Highwayman."

(MUSIC)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

JOHNNY CASH: We were leaving the next day to go to California and June (ph) said take the words to "A Boy Named Sue" to California. You would want to record it as San Quentin. I said, I don't have time to learn it before the show. She said, well, take them anyway. So, I did. I took the words to "A Boy Named Sue." I'd only read it the first time, sung it the first time, the night before and I read it off, you know, as I sang it.

I still didn't know the words to it. So, reluctantly, I put them in my briefcase and took them to California. And I got out there to do that show and as a last resort, I pulled the lyrics out and pulled them on the music stand and when it came time that I thought I was brave enough, I did that song.

(MUSIC) (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: One of the great, great tracks of all times. What took him to prison?

R. CASH: I think he felt a...

KING: Kindred spirit?

R. CASH: yes.

KING: And Travis, I'm told to ask about a letter.

What about a letter?

TRITT: One of the many letters that John and I wrote back and forth to each other. When we first met in the early '90s, we were introduced through Marty Stewart. And Marty Stewart and I were actually out on tour together, and, you know, we talked on the telephone from time to time. And, of course, see each other every now and then. But the easiest way to communicate at that particular time was to just jot a quick note down and just drop it in the mail to each other. And one of the ones that I just dug out tonight, was one of the ones I think you showed on the screen, where he says, you know, you should stay away from Marty Stewart. He's bad for your career. Seriously, I'm proud of him. If I may say so, I knew he would make it from day one. Both of you guys look good out there. Good going, Travis, keep it up, John Cash.

And, that was just, you know, he did that sort of thing all the time. He was constantly -- I mentioned last night at the tribute, he was constantly a source of encouragement, of inspiration. If Johnny Cash liked you, by golly you knew it. And he would constantly let you know when he thought you were doing something right.

KING: And said he called himself John?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: John R. Las Vegas, quickly, hello.

CALLER: John and Rosanne, our condolences and love. you know, the country sends it. Just wanted to know if he wrote many of his own songs and do you think that Glen Campbell's show and Johnny's caused a resurgence of country music in modern times?

(CROSSTALK)

J. CASH: Yes, country music, I believe it always comes back around to the truth and the base, you know, of simple music, good music in...

KING: Did he write a lot of his own songs?

R. CASH: Yes, absolutely. He was a song writer. He was one of the greatest American song writers that ever lived. I don't think people realize that as much as they do just about his persona. But his television show was revolutionary for the people it brought on, you know.

Bob Dylan, Joanie Mitchell. These people had never been on mainstream television.

KING: If you had been a little older you would been on, Dwight.

YOAKAM: I tell you what, though, I was old enough to be infatuated with that man spinning around looking at that camera, saying, hello, I'm Johnny Cash.

R. CASH: Do you believe this kid doesn't even remember, that he was so young.

KING: We're out of time. Thank you, guys. Thank you, Glen Campbell and Travis Tritt, Dwight Yoakam and John Carter Cash and Rosanne Cash.

R. CASH: Thank you, Larry.

KING: We'll be back in couple minutes to tell you about tomorrow night. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: A quick word before we go. I want to wish our friends Bill and Camilli Cosby good luck tomorrow night for the Hello Friend Ennis William Cosby Foundation, which works to open the doors of learning to those with dyslexia and language-based learning differences. The foundation is named after Bill and Camilli's son Ennis William Cosby who was murdered in 1997. And it's a wonderful way for the Cosby's to turn their tragedy to something positive.

Caroline Kennedy, and the one and only Little Richard will be guests tomorrow night. It should be one very special night.

We also note with sadness the passing of Art Carney. I knew Art very well those days in Miami Beach with Jackie Gleason. He was 85- years-old and he was one true greats. Art Carney will be missed.

Tomorrow night the Peterson trail. The hearing resumes and we'll resume coverage. Johnnie Cochran and Nancy Grace together in the same room. It's going to be something.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com




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