Johnny Cash’s “Out Among The Stars” Tops Charts at #1

April 2, 2014 - By Trigger  //  News  //  41 Comments

johnny-cash-out-among-the-starsJohnny Cash is once again the big man in music as his recently-released “lost” album Out Among The Stars has come in at #1 on the Country Albums chart, and #3 on the all-encompassing album sales chart according to Mediabase, with a total of 54,000 copies sold. The sales success will likely result in Cash also cresting Billboard’s country chart, and hitting near #3 on their all genre album chart when the new week’s charts are posted.

The success of Out Among The Stars once again speaks to the resonance classic country and classic country artists can have among the wide populous when given a chance, and has once again reignited interest in the Man in Black. The album beat out Jerrod Niemann’s new album High Noon that was also released on March 25th.

Out Among The Stars is a complete album that was recorded between 1981 and 1984 by Cash, with songs that were meant to be together, but never saw the light of day. A true “lost album” if there ever was one. It was produced by Country Music Hall of Famer Billy Sherrill, renown as one of the architects of the countrypolitan, or Nashville Sound. Sherrill was also the president of CBS Records at the time, and the pairing was meant to create something special; something that could re-ignite Johnny Cash’s career. Eventually Columbia dropped Cash in 1986, shelving Out Among The Stars, even though they released some other recordings and albums that were made after the album.

Read: Album Review – Johnny Cash’s “Out Among The Stars”

Out Among The Stars features 12 tracks, including a duet with Waylon Jennings, and two duets with Cash’s wife, June Carter Cash. The recordings feature Country Hall of Fame keys player Hargus “Pig” Robbins, and a young Marty Stuart. Legacy Recordings had Marty Stuart, Buddy Miller, and Jerry Douglas “fortify” the recordings for this release.

41 Comments to “Johnny Cash’s “Out Among The Stars” Tops Charts at #1”

  • “The album beat out Jerrod Niemann’s new album High Noon that was also released on March 25th.”

    Don’t want to take the focus away from “Out Among the Stars” too much with this comment, but it looks like “High Noon” didn’t do so hot this week…

    • Probably due to bad word of mouth, because it sucks.

    • I was blown away when I heard “Out Among The Stars” beat it. Think about it, “Drink To That All Night” is #4 in the charts right now and surging. He’s got Airsta Nashville all up behind his album and this his big commercial moment as country’s EDM pioneer. And here comes Cash with no radio play, been dead for a decade, and still beats him.

      I’ll tell you this: Jerrod Niemann’s album better rally, because he sold all of his credibility for commercial success. If it doesn’t work, nobody will take him seriously moving forward.

      • It wasn’t even close. Niemann only sold 14,000 copies of his album which will bring him barely inside the top 20 on the big chart. I just don’t know if there is an audience for him on an album level right now. Fans of country music will stay away from this and I don’t think he’s a big enough star to get the FGL type fans to go for an entire album.

        This really is short term thinking if one wants a long career.

        • That blows me away. They’ve got to be really disappointed in that. And there really wasn’t any big mainstream competition on the week for him. I guessing they think it will do better in the long run with “Drink To That All Night” rising and a few other singles slated from the album. The thing is, does this EDM crowd they’re trying to appeal to buy albums, or just singles?

          • …or, does this EDM crowd go to shows?

          • EDM acts in general tend to shift minimal physical sales.

            It’s a genre where remixing and spontaneous means of collaboration are deemed more important, as opposed to protracted chart runs for singles and album sales.

            EDM demographics also tend, I’ve noticed, to favor investing in their festivals as opposed to investing in traditional means of promotion (airplay, making the rounds on prime-time television programs within the week of an album release, marquee interviews, feature Billboard and Spin articles, etc.) I suppose you can draw vague parallels with the Texas music scene, in that regard, although airplay still matters significantly in the Lone Star State.

            Personally, I’ve never bought a straight-up EDM album. Why bother when I can just develop a playlist on SoundCloud (a favorite for fans of EDM music, as is MixCloud). It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that EDM albums sell poorly compared to not just country/”country” artists, but even many Top Catalog Albums.

  • This is great news for real Country fans! A great album by a true giant and an all-star class of players!

  • Cool. I wonder what Johnny would think about having a #1 album more than ten years after his passing. I’m pretty sure he would like the idea of a new generation of young people (the millenials, in this case) listening to his music.

    I also wonder what would happen if Cumulus or Clear Channel put “She Used to Love Me A Lot” in its radio playlist. Would it cause the niche bro-country -audience to change the station? It seems like radio programmers won’t play classic/traditional country even if it s profitable and in their own best interest monetarily.

    • Why wouldn’t they put a song from the album on the radio, even in light rotation? It’s the #1 album in the country right now, speaking to the appeal of this music, which radio programmers are supposed to be aware of and listen to. We all that won’t happen, which is why the radio system right now is ridiculous. Think of all the posthumous and re-entry radio hits rock radio had back in the day with people like Roy Orbison and The Righteous Brothers. Radio reflected what people were listening to, not just what radio programmers thought kids would find cool.

      • I agree. As you say, this is the number one country album in America right now. I’m not sure what putting a song in the rotation could actually hurt. Maybe a handful of people would dissmiss it as old guy music and change the station, but it seems like that number would easily be offset by the number of folks flipping around the dial who would say. “Wait, is that Johnny Cash?” and tune in. The market research shows that at least some of the audience is still interested in classic country, and it dosen’t take a genius to figure out that Johnny Cash is popular. As much as I dislike corporate radio, I used to concede that the programmers must at least know what they’re doing in terms of maximizing their profits, but I’m beginning to realize that they’re actually just clueless. The conservative strategies are not going to work.

        Anyway, I am happy that this album is number one. It must be gratifying for John Carter and everyone who worked to put this project together. Congratulations!

        • If they put any song from the album on the radio right now, it would be so jarring to the mainstream ear, it might cause an insurrection. Radio programmers just don’t have the balls, or the freedom to do it.

          • I doubt it. I bet that most of the mainstream listeners would just find the songs boring, sadly.

            I say this from my personal experience with my local country radio station. Though most of the time the station plays modern mainstream country, it sometimes plays traditional country as well. Based on phone calls to the station and online votes on its website, there does not seem to be any groundswell of support for the classic style of country.

      • My roommate is a perfect example of why Cash doesn’t get airplay despite pretty much everybody liking his music. I’ll quote him on this: “I only like music I can party to”.

    • I am sure that country radio will play the Cash songs to some extent, and some might even reach the Top 40. However, they will be easily overshadowed in air time by bro country.

  • This is excellent news! I’m tempted to go pick up 10 more copies just to keep this baby towards the top. As mentioned above, I’d love to hear any song from the album in some sort of radio playlist. It would at least give me some incentive to even check the radio. Jerrod Niemann’s music caters to the folks that have the personality of a worm.

    1 point for the good guys!

  • I’ve streamed Cash’s album several times and do plan on picking up a copy. I call an album like this some listening “relief”, to counter act all the other garbage we are force-fed. I love Cash but I for one was getting a little drained on the American Recordings, was glad to hear some Cash of old. A very underrated era of country music and this coming from a 90s kid, nearly a decade after these recordings on “Stars.” Really digging the Waylon collaboration, my ears have been saved! Thanks.

    • I’m a 90’s kid as well. I’ve been rummaging through Cash’s catalog over the past few years and goddamn is it good. All the folks in my town that are my age have been asking me if I got tickets to the Jason Aldean/FGL concert. I’d buy this new Cash album 10 times before spending $150 to have my ears eradicated to the sound of 1994.

  • My friend Gary Gentry wrote “I drove her out of my mind”, which is on this album. He also wrote “the ride”, “chicken in black”, “1959”, “the corvette song( the one I loved most)”, etc… He is stoked about this release. I think it’s one of the best songs on the album. It really represented Cash’s style, on this album and throughout his career.
    Cash actually recorded this song and “chicken in black” while Gary was at the studio.
    Awesome stuff!!!

    We also wrote a song together with Wayne Mills as the inspiration an subtle subject matter in the story of the song…. To be recorded soon!!!!

  • The single sold approx. 36,000 this week and has now sold a little over 500,000 which is pretty decent for a C- list performer. The success of this song just baffles me because it’s not any kind of EDM that a true fan of that genre would like and it’s in no way country obviously and it’s by such a minor name artist that it can’t be on name recognition (ala Tim McGraw).

    • This was supposed to be in reply to Trigger about the Niemann album thought I hit reply but guess not.

  • To be honest, I’m surprised that you’re surprised this album did so well, Trigger. Johnny Cash, unlike any other country music artist, I would argue, has almost as much appeal and just as much reverence from the crowds that are outside of the genre as inside. I can’t tell you how many people tell me that they “don’t like country music” but love Johnny Cash (some for Willie, Waylon and Dwight Yoakam as well, never mind the irony of the statement). I mean, it’s JOHNNY CASH for crying out loud. As you yourself said, no one will ever equal his achievements. And this is coming from someone who, while a huge fan, doesn’t count the Man In Black among his favorites (still damn good, though).

    Also, in reference to my extreme backpedaling on Don Williams, I also went out and got a copy of Out Among The Stars the other day like I said. I don’t think it’s as good as the American Recordings series (of which my favorite is Unchained), but it’s still good and well worth the ten dollars I paid. I’d forgotten how much I missed Cash’s subtle humor and gritty depiction of reality. If we’re being realistic, the style might be more of the reason that none of these songs will be featured on the radio, rather than the sound. As Toby Keith said, no one wants to hear serious songs anymore, much less somber or depressing ones. I wonder if FGL, Luke Bryan or Jason Aldean understand the irony of being counted a part of a genre that has always been stereotyped as whiny, woe-is-me posturing when all they make are party songs? Say what you will about Keith, but he was spot on with that one.

    • Yeah I agree I’m not that surprised it sold well either. JOHNNY CASH is such a widely known brand if you will that anything by him will sell. He probably has a wider ranging fanbase than any country artist ever, maybe.

    • I’m not surprised it sold well. I’m surprised it was a #1. I’ve reported on a few of these vintage releases, and you rarely even see them crack the top 20. Granted, this one was a little exceptional, but still, I didn’t expect this. I have to say I think they did a really good job promoting this release, a lot better than most albums. And it clearly paid off.

      • Cash’s appeal is so widely varied because of the American recording days and rhe rebranding that occured he crosses boundries very few if any “classic country” artists cross so the album doing well is not suprising but like you going number one was a tad bit suprising but in a good way.

  • Awesome news. :D I haven’t picked the CD up yet, but I hope to later this month.

  • If there was any justice or sanity in Country Music, “I’m Movin On” with Waylon would be the number 1 single.

  • The album beat out Jerrod Niemann’s new album High Noon that was also released on March 25th.

    Well now, that just warms the cockles of my cold black heart. :D

  • It’s almost unfortunate that I have a soul, and won’t download this. I’ll picking it up as soon as I get paid.

    Johnny Cash is a special case, but it still gives me some faith in country music (and it’s fan base) that his album can still hit #1.

  • Oh, and as an added bonus, this makes Blake Shelton look like an even bigger idiot than we might have even originally thought he was, because either the old farts and jackasses still DO buy records, or the kids DO want to listen to their grandpa’s music. Or both, :D

  • Which digit do you think the Man In Black is holding up to indicate his chart position?

    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
    ……….”…\………. _.·´

    • Fuck yeah!

  • Oh, and to put the Jerrod Niemann sales figures in even starker perspective…

    The latest album from ’80s metal band Queensryche, a band that has not has a radio hit in almost 20 years, sold just over 13,500 copies in its first week last summer. And this was their first album with a brand new lead singer.

  • Eat your heart out Music Row phonies!!!!!

  • Music Row/Clear Channel/Cumulus will probably brush this under the rug so as to not draw any attention to it.

    Trig, more news from the Department of Revisionist History: outlets are saying that Blake Shelton has set a record for most consecutive #1s (11). What they are failing to mention is, that the record applies only to the Nielsen BDS-based Billboard Country Airplay chart, which was instituted in 1990.

  • This is great news. The bad thing though is until “Hurt” came out, Johnny Cash had almost been forgotten like a lot of other music legends have. Then everyone at the MTV awards and everywhere else was wearing Cash shirts, then later came “Walk the Line”, suddenly nothing was cooler than throwing out your Johnny Cash fan credit. Cash became cool again and his albums are still selling today because of it. The bad thing is guys like Willie and Merle still pump out great material, but they don’t sell albums or receive the national music fandom that Cash still does. Make no doubt, Cash is a legend, but he was on that same boat as Merle, Waylon and others who had been discarded from main stream relevance and then he had that huge surge at the end, which changed everything. Most younger music fans know Willie, because of his collaborations adn that he smoke a lot of weed, while a lot have no idea who Haggard even is. I just wish a few of these other legends, who are just as great, could work their way back into the spotlight like they deserve.

      • Nice! Thanks Trigger, don’t know how I have never heard this song before.

      • I used to like a lot of Fred Eaglesmith …till you posted this song awhile back. Kinda sounds like an ode to a hero… but with a mouthful of bitter oats. But HEY, other than “that”…

  • Even in his death Johnny Cash is shaking up the system…awesome!

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