Johnny Cash, 1963
This is one of Cash’s most famous songs, and most people assume that he wrote it. The true story is that the song is not by Johnny Cash but about Johnny Cash.
Choose from the following activities, for levels high beginning and up:
- Listening Listen to the song “Ring of Fire” while reading the lyrics.
- Listening Listen to the song again without lyrics. One group of students will raise their hands every time they hear the words burning and burns. The other group will raise their hands every time they hear the words fiery and fire. Ask students: How is love like a ring of fire?
- Listening Ask students to guess who wrote the song, and why. Then listen to the story behind the song. (On the Pearson catalog page, click on “Stories Behind Songs Audio.” Then click on Story 3, “Say Yes,” in True Stories Behind the Songs.)
- Post-Listening Watch the scene from the movie Walk the Line, in which Johnny proposes to June in front of a live audience. (This clip ends with a romantic kiss and may not be appropriate for your class; previewing is advised.)
- Listening Watch Cash’s live 1994 performance of the song, nine years before his death.
- Post-Listening June Carter and Johnny Cash were married for 35 years. Ask students to interview someone who is married. They ask the questions below, write down the answers, and then, with the class, share secrets for a happy marriage.
When did you meet your husband/wife? / Where did you meet your husband/wife? / How did you meet your husband/wife? / When did you get married? / What is your secret for a happy marriage?