April 17, 1970, Johnny Cash performed ‘A Boy Named Sue’ in the East Room of the White House when he and his wife were invited by President Richard Nixon. Nixon’s staff had requested the song along with ‘Okie From Muskogee’ and a song by Guy Drake called “Welfare Cadillac,” but Cash refused to perform those songs, saying he didn’t have arrangements ready.Cash followed “Sue” with several songs:Five Feet High and Rising Pickin’ Time
- Wreck of Old 97
- Jesus Was a Carpenter
- What Is Truth?
- I Wish I Had Someone to Love Me
- Folsom Prison Blues
He was then joined by June Carter and they sang “Jackson” and “Darlin Companion.” For “Peace in the Valley” and “He Turned the Water into Wine,” his backup was the Statler Brothers and the Carter Family. For “Daddy Sang Bass,” he was joined by Carl Perkins, June Carter, the Statler Brothers, and the Carter Family. The end of the performance was a bravura medley with June Carter reprising “Folsom Prison Blues,” Mother Maybelle and the Carter Family singing “I Walk the Line,” the Statler Brothers (“Ring of Fire”), Carl Perkins (“Folsom Prison Blues”), and Johnny Cash with the Tennessee Three singing “Johnny Yuma.” The finale was the entire cast singing the valedictory “Suppertime.”
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