Being the younger brother of Johnny Cash undoubtedly leaves you with some pretty big shoes to fill. But Tommy Cash, the youngest sibling of the Man in Black, made his own name in the music business. He scored a No. 4 hit on the Billboard country charts in 1969 with “Six White Horses” and went on to rack up a string of hits in the early 1970s. And while he would always live in his older brother’s shadow, it didn’t seem to bother him. But whatever happened to the youngest Cash?
The Other Cash
Tommy Cash was born in Dyess, Ark. in 1940. Like his brother, Tommy was interested in music from an early age, forming a band in high school. Following high school graduation, he enlisted in the Army. While in the service, Cash worked as a disc jockey for the American Forces Radio Network.
Once out of the service, Cash turned his focus back to making music. He earned a record deal in 1965, but his big break came four years later with the release of “Six White Horses,” a tribute to John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy which sought to find solace in the wake of the men’s tragic deaths.
In 1970, Tommy Cash had two more top 10 singles, “One Song Away” and the Chet Atkins-penned “Rise and Shine.”
Though Tommy Cash never equaled the success of “Six White Horses,” he continued to work in the music business, touring with Connie Smith and George Jones.
A Keeper of the Cash Legacy
Though his relationship with his brother was sometimes challenging due to Johnny’s substance abuse, Tommy Cash maintained a close relationship with the elder Cash. The brothers performed together regularly and Tommy continues to honor Johnny in concert.
Tommy recorded the tribute song “My Brother Johnny Cash” for his 2008 album Shades of Black.
Today, Tommy Cash is a licensed Tennessee realtor who’s “selling Music City.” And while a real estate agent might seem like a far cry from a burgeoning country music superstar with an iconic name, Cash continues to tour and record while managing his brother’s legacy. Tommy sold Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash’s Hendersonville, Tenn. compound to Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees after the superstar couples’ deaths in 2003. Gibb had plans to restore the home, but much of the property was later destroyed in a 2007 fire.
“When John was in good health, he and June would go out to the gates and say hello to the fans and sometimes even get up on the tour buses out there,” Tommy Cash told CMT in 2005.
Tommy Cash recently made a guest appearance on CMT’s Sun Records, inspired by the famous Memphis recording studio where his brother recorded “I Walk the Line” and “Get Rhythm.”