When news broke that Johnny Cash's "Guess Things Happen That Way" was the 10 billionth download on iTunes, Cash's daughter Rosanne remarked on Twitter that the honor was the perfect birthday present to her father, whose 78th birthday would have been today. Earlier this week, Cash's final album of posthumous recordings, American VI: Ain't No Grave hit stores, and today we're paying tribute to the Man in Black by looking back at his remarkable career and the legendary musicians he inspired. Above is a clip of Cash and Bob Dylan performing Nashville Skyline's "The Girl From the North Country" on the premiere episode of The Johnny Cash Show in 1969.
"In plain terms, Johnny was and is the North Star; you could guide your ship by him — the greatest of the greats then and now," Dylan wrote in Rolling Stone in the days following Cash's 2003 death. To read tributes to Cash by Bono, Merle Haggard and more, click below. Plus, watch a 1959 performance of Cash's "Guess Things Happen That Way," iTunes' 10 billionth song: