“Love is a burning thing
And it makes a fiery ring.
Bound by wild desire
I fell into a ring of fire.”
Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” one of the great songs of the 20th Century as far as I’m concerned, turns 55 this year. The song was originally written and recorded by Anita Cash, June Carter Cash’s sister, as “(Love’s) Ring of Fire,” but didn’t become a hot until Johnny recorded it later that year. He claimed that he had a dream about the song performed with “Mexican horns,” and so he recorded his version “the way he had imagined it.”
Ring of Fire has been recorded at least 70 times. To honor its 55th anniversary, here’s a playlist of the originals and a few covers. None of them come close to matching the original — and a couple of these are pretty ho-hum, in my view — but that version by Social Distortion is especially great.