Ring of Fire (2:35)

Cover of The Legend of Johnny Cash

From The Legend of Johnny Cash and 387 other releases

“Ring of Fire” is a country music song popularized by Johnny Cash and co-written by June Carter (wife of Johnny Cash) and Merle Kilgore. The song was recorded on March 25, 1963 and became the biggest hit of Cash’s career, staying at number one on the US charts for seven weeks.

Although the phrase “Ring of Fire” sounds somewhat ominous, the term refers to falling in love - which is what June Carter was experiencing with Johnny Cash at the time. Some sources claim that June had seen the phrase, “Love is like a burning ring of fire,” underlined in one of her uncle A. P. Carter’s Elizabethan books of poetry.

The song was originally recorded by June’s sister, Anita Carter, on her Mercury Records album Folk Songs Old and New (1962) as “(Love’s) Ring of Fire”. It was released as a single and was a featured “pick hit” in Billboard magazine. When the song failed to become a major hit for Anita, Cash recorded it his own way, adding the mariachi-style horns. Mother Maybelle Carter and The Carter Sisters feature prominently singing harmony.

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