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Johnny Cash Honored With New Statue in Memphis

A statue of lanky, young Johnny Cash was unveiled last Wednesday (June 12) in Memphis near a church that helped introduce Cash as an influential, singer, picker and writer of the devil's music: rockabilly.

The statue, sculpted by Memphis artist Mike McCarthy and based on an iconic 1962 photograph by Leigh Wiener, stands in front of apartment complex 999 S. Cooper in the Cooper-Young neighborhood. It's adjacent to Galloway United Methodist Church, the site where Cash and "Tennessee Two" bandmates Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant played their first paid gig in 1954.

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Per Memphis' Commercial Appeal, apartment complex developers Focal Point Investments provided space for the statue and paid for the installation of lighting after the initial plans to host the monument on church grounds became complicated.

The statue will be lit up at night by lights referred to as a "Ring of Fire," although in Cash lore, they could just as easily be themed after the Opry's footlights. Non-profit organization Legacy Memphis helped raise $65,000 for the project.

Tamara Cook, executive director of the Cooper-Young Business Association, told the Commercial Appeal that the statue is "totally going to be a tourist attraction" for everyone from punk rockers headed to nearby Goner Records to retirees in search of Graceland.

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Johnny Cash Honored With New Statue in Memphis