Nixon & Cash Clash

(Above source: YouTube screenshot)

In 1970, hoping to secure his base and aid Southern GOP candidates for that year’s midterm elections, President Richard Nixon invited a bona-fide country music star to sing at the White House. But this wasn’t just any country music star – it was Johnny Cash, a patriot to be sure, but one  undergoing a political transformation during turbulent times.

Tricky Dick and the Man in Black, a documentary premiering tomorrow on Netflix, finds Cash forced to choose “which side of himself” should show up. Ultimately, Netflix says, “Cash had seen too much, and met too many people in pain, to not sing truth to power in a concert that became his defining moment.”

Following his April 17, 1970, White House performance, Cash’s new rebel image would be cemented exactly 10 months later. On February 17, 1971, he debuted his signature song, ”Man in Black,” during his “Johnny Cash on Campus” TV show. For more on that, read our article, “Upfront, A Man in Black,” from July.

Tricky Dick and the Man in Black was co-directed by Barbara Kopple (Oscar winner for American Dream and Harlan County USA) and Sara Dosa.

The doc marks the second go-round for Netflix’s monthly Remastered series, which investigates high-profile events affecting famous musical personalities.

The eight-episode series kicked off last month with Who Shot the Sheriff, a look at an attempt to assassinate Bob Marley in 1976.

Future installments will include Who Killed Jam Master Jay? in December, The Two Killings of Sam Cooke in February 2019, and Devil at the Crossroads (Robert Johnson) in April 2019

For more info, visit Netflix.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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