Johnny Cash’s pedigree knows no bounds. ‘The Man in Black’ was respected for his musical talent, trademark baritone voice and rebelliousness, coupled with a sombre, humble personality that endeared him to fans worldwide. His musical heroism is so distinguished that his songs have been covered by a variety of heroes ranging from Nine Inch Nails to Depeche Mode.
In fact, the clearest indicator of his cultural potency, apart from the everlasting classics that he produced, was that he helped to nurture and support a fresh-faced Bob Dylan, a point that cannot be ignored.
An icon of rebel country, Cash has rightly been hailed as something of a blue-collared messiah who combined the elemental essence of Robin Hood with the cocaine-fuelled carnage of the era. He carved a stark departure from the rhinestone wearing traditional country and contemporary musical styles such as psychedelia. A true iconoclast, no word is better at describing the man who invariably walked the line.
Whether it be his iconic prison performances or the oscillating nature of his career, Cash’s life is one of the most captivating in all of music. In fact, it was such an Odyssey that it even inspired the 2007 satire, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. He did it all in his 71 years, and to have sat down with him and discussed the epic proportions of his life would surely have been quite something.
When we say did it all, we really mean it. During the mid-1980s, ‘The Man in Black’ even tried his hand in the booming trade of the era, TV advertising. Cash teamed up with banking group Canada Trust, who installed ATM machines across North America, helping to convince customers that bankers hours were now consigned to the dustbin of history.
The future had arrived. Customers could access their money 24/7, and this revolution was to be helped along by the king of rebel country, even if on paper, the partnership is something of a juxtaposition. Regardless, the aptly named Johnny Cash, in his effortlessly cool Southern drawl, introduced the ‘Johnny Cash Machine’ to the world. Possibly the best gimmick of all time, there’s nothing better than watching the middle-aged country star introducing Canada Trust’s ATMs.
There’s a couple of adverts that exist of Cash working for Canada Trust, and it is surreal in every sense of the word. In the second of the pair, he says: “You know friends, waiting in line for your money isn’t fun. Canada Trust has a better idea. Their Johnny Cash money machines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s right, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all day, every day, just for you. So beat the lines, pick your own time to get your money. Johnny Cash Money Machines from Canada Trust, coz friends, life’s too short to walk the line.”
Cash by name, Cash by nature, it would seem. It’s almost shameless from the musician, but it sure is a hilarious moment in his illustrious career.
Watch the adverts below.