Rosanne Cash has achieved great success as a singer/songwriter, but not before exploring other options.
Born May 24, 1956, in Memphis, she was 1 month old when her father, Johnny Cash, released his first single, "Cry, Cry, Cry." The elder Cash's substance-abuse problems eventually forced the relocation of Rosanne, who moved in with her mother at age 11.
After graduating from high school, she joined her father's road show, first doing his band's laundry, then working up to a role as a backup singer and occasional soloist.
Although she was aware that her name could open doors in the world of music, Cash explored other possibilities. She took acting classes and traveled extensively. When she returned to music, recording her first album in 1978, it was released only in Germany.
She signed with Columbia Records the same year and began working extensively with singer Rodney Crowell, whom she later married. Crowell produced her 1979 album, Right or Wrong. Despite the LP yielding three top-25 hits, Cash's real breakthrough came with 1981's Seven Year Ache. The album's title track (RealAudio excerpt) not only topped the country chart, but also infiltrated the top 30 of the Billboard pop chart.
After taking time off to raise her children, Cash returned to music in 1985 with Rhythm and Romance, an album that yielded two #1 hits with its fusion of pop and country. Cash's next effort, King's Record Shop (1988) spawned a whopping four #1 hits. It came as little surprise that she was named Billboard's Top Singles Artist in 1988.
Cash and Crowell's relationship and subsequent divorce are chronicled on two heart-wrenching albums, Interiors (1991) and The Wheel (1993), neither of which fared well commercially.
In 1996, Cash published a collection of short stories, "Bodies of Water." That same year, she released 10 Song Demo, a haunting 11-track album that eschewed the glossy production of much of her previous work.
Other birthdays Wednesday: Mike Reid, 53, and Bob Dylan, 59.