When he was older, he left home to work in Pontiac, MI. The job lasted only two weeks before he returned home to Arkansas. On July 7,1950 he enlisted in the Air Force, Before leaving Cash went roller skating in San Antonio, Texas. There he met Vivian Liberto, then seventeen and in her last year of high school. They dated a few weeks and wrote each other while Cash was overseas. They decided to get married when he returned. It was while he was stationed in Germany, that he bought his first guitar. He began setting his songs to music, and one of the first was "Folsom Prison Blues."
On July 3, 1954 Cash was discharged from the Air Force. On August 7, 1954 he married Vivian Liberto and set up home on Tutwiler Avenue in Memphis. His older brother Ray found him a job selling appliances. Trying to break in to the music business Cash auditioned for a job as a radio announcer at a station in Corith, Mississippi, but was turned down because lack of experience. Using his G.I. benefits, Cash then enrolled at the Keegan School of Broadcasting in Memphis .
A few days after getting out of the service, Cash visited his older brother Roy in Memphis. Roy Cash was working at Hoehn Chevrolet where he worked with three mechanics who played together at home, small benefit concerts and Sunday morning radio. Despite increasing popular success, Cash's life seem to deteriorate.
In October 1965 he was arrested at the El Paso international airport in possession of stimulants and tranquilizers. After being found near death in a small Georgia town in 1967, Cash decided to reform. With June Carter providing moral support he cleaned up his act. The pair had a smash hit with "Jackson" in 1967 and married in March 1968.
Luther Perkins died accidentally in 1968 and was replaced by Bob Wooten. The 1968 album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison revitalized his career and made him an international star. The album yielded a top country/moderate pop hit "Folsom Prison Blues." Cash had another top country/ smash pop hit with the novelty tune "A Boy Named Sue" from Johnny Cash at San Quentin, another best seller.In early 1969 Cash had another country and pop hit with Carl Perkin's "Daddy Sang Bass."
In 1969 Cash's ABC television series debuted featuring a film of Cash and Bob Dylan recording "Girl from the North Country." The song later appeared on Dylan's Nashville Skyline, Dylan's first country album.Later shows featured such artists as Roy Orbison, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Joni Mitchell. During the 70s daughter Roseanne Carter and step-daughter Carlene Carter worked with the Johnny Cash Road Show.