Ring Of Fire, Johnny Cash And Dream On, Aerosmith – Essay Example

Ring of Fire” by Jonny Cash and “Dream On” by Aerosmith. The lyrics of these two songs have a number of similarities, despite the fact that they were written by very different authors. Johnny Cash belongs to an American gospel and country tradition, and made his career out of a persona who both clings to the Bible belt certainties of Christian morality but on the other hand lives a life full of bad behaviour and cycles of sin and repentance. Aerosmith overlap in time with much of Johnny Cash’s work, but they have more links with hard rock and heavy metal. They, too, had many battles with sex, drugs and various dubious moral practices over the years, so that it could be said there is common ground between them and Johnny Cash. The two songs “Ring of Fire” and “Dream On” have short, memorable titles which then become repeated as choruses in the songs. Especially at the end, these simple phrases are repeated again and again. The songs have very simple verse structures with rhymes, for example “thing, ring; desire, fire; sweet, meet and child wild” in “Ring of Fire” and “gone, dawn; way, pay; knows, goes and sin, win” in “Dream On”. Both songs are sung as first person narratives, with the singer reflecting on the past and in particular on the theme of mistakes or sins that he has committed. While Johnny Cash’s song concentrates on the dragging down aspect of sin, and the imagery of burning fire, which suggests hell and damnation, the Aerosmith lyric has a more hopeful tone, suggesting that sin is part of life, and that “the Good Lord” will come one day and save even the worst kind of sinner. Cash looks back to the past, while Aerosmith look back to the past, and also forward to the future. The imagery of both songs is clearly Christian, and what is interesting about them is that the singers appear to appreciate both the negative aspect of doing wrong, and being tempted by love that is not socially acceptable, and the value of having these experiences, even though they know that they are doing wrong. For Cash sin is inevitable “I fell for you, I fell into..” while for Aerosmith it is an essential part of living: “You’ve got to lose to know how to win”, and this means that for both of them innocence is not an option. Both songs, in their own way, suggest that the sinner is, or will be, forgiven, and they do not glory in their sinful past, but rather see it as the hard experience that has made them the men that they are when they sing these songs.
Aerosmith, “Dream On”. Lyrics retrieved from:
Cash, Johnny. “Ring of Fire”. Lyrics retrieved from: