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Lyle Lovett inducts Johnny Cash

""I Walk the Line" was the first song of his I ever heard.  My aunt and uncle owned the record, and my cousin Wanda and I would wait until my mother left the house, and then we'd play it really loud.  But I can't remember the very first time I heard "I Walk the Line."  To me it was simply a part of the world as I knew it - like a part of nature.  More like air and like water than like a song that someone, some man, actually sat down and wrote, and sang.  "I Walk the Line" was a hit in November of 1956 - that's about a year before I was born - so it really is a part of the world that I know.  But that's the way it seems with great songs and great artists.  Their impact on people is such that you can't imagine what the world would be like or sound like without them.  He was born in rural Arkansas in 1932, he moved to Detroit in his early teens, he joined the Airforce where he became a radio operator.  After the Airforce, he moved to Memphis, where he made his first recordings for Sam Phillips and for Sun Records in 1955.  It was there and then when the world of music began to feel his impact, as he wrote and recorded songs like "Cry, Cry, Cry," "Hey Porter," and "I Walk the Line."  He helped show the world what happens when rural sensibilities and values mix with an urban environment.  Over the years he's demonstrated a broad musical perspective, never being afraid to record songs of social commentary, and always being eager to seek out new songs from talented young songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, and Bruce Springsteen.  He's had 48 songs on the pop charts, 135 on the country charts, and he's sold more than 50 million records.  His music, his artistry, his point of view helped form and define what we know as rock and roll.  This is the biggest deal of my life.  It's a great honor for me to present to you, and to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash. "

Johnny Cash