500 Greatest Songs of All Time
Johnny Cash, 'Ring of Fire'
Writers: June Carter, Merle Kilgore
Producer: Don Law
Released: May '63, Columbia
13 weeks; No. 17
Carter wrote this song while driving around aimlessly one night, worried about Cash's wildman ways — and aware that she couldn't resist him. "There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns," she wrote. Not long after hearing June's sister Anita's take on the song, Cash had a dream that he was singing it with mariachi horns. Cash's version became one of his biggest hits (inspiring cover versions by everyone from Frank Zappa to Adam Lambert), and his marriage to June four years later helped save his life.
Appears on: The Man in Black: His Greatest Hits (Columbia)