Johnny Cash - Ring Of Fire

First performance: 13/03/1973


Bruce covered the song 5 times:
Bruce joins Social Distortion at the Sea.Hear.Now Festival, in Asbury Park, produced by Danny Clinch of Between The Sets and C3 Presents. Social Distortion covered the song themselves on their 1990 self-titled LP. Mike Ness presenting Bruce : "There was this guy sitting around, doing nothing. Maybe you could come to our show and sing a song or two?" He played three songs : 'Bad Luck', 'Misery Loves Company' en 'Ring of Fire' .
Encore opener "Ring of Fire" is a tour premiere. Although Bruce claims "we've never played this one before", it was last played back in 1973 and 1974. "Ring Of Fire" is played by sign request. 

1974-01-12 Joint In The Woods (The), Parsippany, NJ
1973-08-14 Uncle Al's Erlton Theatre Lounge, Cherry Hill, NJ
One show, with Springsteen and the boys the sole act on the bill. This was a more than two hour performance that consisted of three 40-minute sets with a healthy intermission between each. A newspaper review notes that "Ring Of Fire" was played; the review also claims that Bruce played "Hearts And Flowers" on guitar, but this is unlikely.

1973-03-13 Oliver's, Boston, MA 
Two cover songs were introduced into the live repertoire during the Oliver’s residency, the surf instrumental "Apache" and Johnny Cash’s "Ring Of Fire". Both were only performed sporadically throughout the remainder of 1973. Greetings Tour Sound Manager Albee Tellone comments: "When we got back from the ill-fated California trip Bruce bought himself an Echoplex that he used for guitar effects. I had to set it up for him each night. The reason he started performing "Apache" was because he could reproduce the exact sound of the original record".
1973-03-24 Student Center, Lewiston, NY
Different attendees at this show recall some highly surprising setlist possibilities: "Kitty's Back", "Quarter To Three", the Beatles' "Come Together", and even an encore of the Cascades' "Rhythm Of The Rain". Given the surprising nature of these song choices the relevant recording and performance histories, Brucebase excluded them from the setlist listing pending further confirmation.
One show, double bill, with Bruce and the boys headlining and local country-rock group Old Salt opening. Held indoors in the 350-seat Student Center. The show was not a sellout, with a reported 300 tickets sold. Given Springsteen was a virtual unknown at the time, this gig at Niagara received an unprecedented amount of pre and post concert press coverage in the school's modest campus newspaper, all articles written by students. The student who orchestrated this event (Kerry McNamara) was obviously a serious Bruce fan. A student reporter even seems to have travelled south to get a brief but fascinating interview with Bruce a couple of weeks before this show. In this interview Bruce mentions he is now playing "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)", including "Fun, Fun, Fun", as a special encore (a tape exists of it from February 14 at VCU). In addition Bruce mentions "Ring Of Fire" and the instrumental "Apache" as two cover songs he's been incorporating into his recent shows. Interestingly it is also revealed that this gig had originally been planned for March 2 but had been rescheduled to March 24 because of the West Coast tour with Paul Butterfield's Better Days. This seems to have been an intimate, inspired crowd that elicited an equally inspired performance. Bruce even donned his legendary Elvis t-shirt at this show, a guarantee of a special evening! After Old Salt opened with a 60-minute set, Springsteen performed a 120-minute show with no intermission, including a triple encore. As reported in the reviews of the show that followed, Bruce opened with two (unnamed in print) acoustic numbers (accompanied by Clarence on the first and Danny on the second) and then brought out the entire band. The final song in the main set was "Thundercrack". The first encore was "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (including "Fun, Fun, Fun") and the second encore was "Twist And Shout". The title of the third encore is not mentioned. This is the longest verified Band performance up to this point and one of the very few two-hour shows Bruce did in 1973.


"Ring of Fire", or "The Ring of Fire", is a song written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore and recorded by Johnny Cash. The single appears on Cash's 1963 album, Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash. The song was originally recorded by June's sister, Anita Carter, on her Mercury Records album Folk Songs Old and New (1963) as "(Love's) Ring of Fire". Although "Ring of Fire" sounds 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 Carter 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. She worked with Kilgore on writing a song inspired by this phrase as she had seen her uncle do in the past. She had written: "There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns". Cash's first wife, Vivian Liberto, offered a different conception of "Ring of Fire" in her book I Walked the Line. She contended that June Carter Cash was not a co-writer of the song: "To this day, it confounds me to hear the elaborate details June told of writing that song for Johnny. She didn't write that song any more than I did. The truth is, Johnny wrote that song, while pilled up and drunk, about a certain private female body part. All those years of her claiming she wrote it herself, and she probably never knew what the song was really about." Liberto claimed that Cash decided to give Carter co-writer status because "She needs the money". After hearing Anita's version, Cash claimed he had a dream where he heard the song accompanied by "Mexican horns". Cash stated, "I'll give you about five or six more months, and if you don't hit with it, I'm gonna record it the way I feel it. Cash noted that adding trumpets was a change to his basic sound.When the song failed to become a major hit for Anita, Cash recorded it his own way, adding the mariachi-style horns from his dream. This sound was later used in the song "It Ain't Me Babe", which was recorded around the same time.

Bruce on the artist

When Johnny Cash died on Sept. 12, 2003, while Springsteen was on the rising tour, for the next two nights, Bruce opened with a solo acoustic take of "I Walk the Line."
On april 6th 1999 Bruce was announced as a performer at the All Star Tribute To Johnny Cash at Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, NY, but his travel schedule prevented him from attending the event – he and the E Street Band were in Italy that night for The Reunion Tour. Instead, pre-taped video footage of him performing Johnny Cash's ' Give my love to Rose', accompanied only by his acoustic guitar, was played on a screen over the stage during the Johnny Cash tribute concert. The rendition was recorded on 12 Feb 1999 at Thrill Hill East, Springsteen's home studio in Rumson, NJ. The song was recorded by Toby Scott and produced by Springsteen, but the identity of film director remains unknown. The concert was aired on the TNT television network at 8:00 PM on 18 Apr 1999.
Intro to the tibute song :
To Johnny I wanna send out a big thanks for the inspiration. He kinda took the social consciousness from folk music and the gravity and humor from country music and the rebellion out of Rock and Roll and uh... and taught all those young guys that not only was it all right to, to tear up all those lines and boundaries a bit was important. And uh... this is a song I love from the early recordings for a long time, I hope you like it. 

The audio of Bruce Springsteen's studio version of Give my love to Rose was officially released on Kindred Spirits: A Tribute To The Songs Of Johnny Cash, a various artists album released in September 2002 on the Lucky Dog label.
However, though it appears identical, the recording released on the tribute album is different from the one broadcast on television – at least the vocal track is different from the first chorus onward. According to the tribute album's credits, the audio was recorded and mixed by Thom Cadley at Sony Music Studios in New York City, NY. Brian Vibberts assisted in recording and Dawn Rheinholz assisted in mixing. At first, the plan was to release a live album and an accompanying video of the 1999 tribute concert to Johnny Cash, but, as Sony Nashville senior VP of sales Dale libbey told Billboard, "the album and video releases of the concert have been frozen in label disagreements over royalties and won't see daylight anytime soon." As a result, only Springsteen's and Bob Dylan's performances form the tribute concert were included on the Kindred Spirits: A Tribute To The Songs Of Johnny Cash album.
The admiration of Johnny Cash to Bruce was mutual. Cash recorded some of Bruce’s songs :


Love is a burning thing and it makes a fiery ring
Bringing me the wild desire I fell into a ring of fire
I fell into into the burning ring of fire
I fell down down down down into the deepest fire
And it burns burns burns burns the ring of fire the ring of fire
The ring of fire
The taste of love is sweet when two very hearts meet
I believe you like a child oh but the fire went wild
I fell into into the burning ring of fire