Johnny Cash, “Man in black”


Well, you wonder why I always dress in black / Why you never see bright colors on my back / And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone / Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down / Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town / I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime / But is there because he’s a victim of the times

I wear the black for those who never read / Or listened to the words that Jesus said / About the way to happiness through love and charity / Why you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me?

Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine I do suppose / In our streak of lightnin’ cars and fancy clothes / But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back / Up front there ought a be a man in black

I wear it for the sick and lonely old / For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold / I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could have been / Each week we lose a hundred fine young men

And I wear it for the thousands who have died / Believen’ that the Lord was on their side / I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died / Believen’ that we all were on their side

Well, there’s things that never will be right I know / And things need changin’ everywhere you go / But ’til we start to make a move to make a few things right / You’ll never see me wear a suit of white

Oh, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day / And tell the world that everything’s ok / But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back / ’Till things are brighter, I’m the man in black

[By Johnny R. Cash © BMG Rights Management US LLC, 1971]