It was a new sound, perfect for the era of rockabilly. People then and since used "boom-chicka-boom" to imitate/describe the sound of Johnny Cash and his Tennessee Two.
Marshall Grant, the bass player in Johnny Cash's groundbreaking band, died Saturday (8/6), two days after suffering a brain aneurysm. Grant had been in Jonesboro, Arkansas for a concert at Arkansas State University to raise money for a project to restore Cash's boyhood home, which had been acquired by the college, when he was stricken.
Marshall Grant and Luther Perkins backed the young Air Force veteran Johnny Cash as he skyrocketed to fame in the early 50s. The sound Cash and the Tennessee Two created found favor with both fans of country music and the new music dubbed "rock and roll." Over the years Cash hit the Billboard pop charts over four dozen times in addition to his over 130 country entries. The 1993 edition of Joel Whitburn's Billboard Top Country Singles book lists Cash as the #3 country chart artist of all time, behind only George Jones and #1 Eddy Arnold. Cash was the first performer inducted into both the country and rock halls of fame as a performer (unlike other country acts such as Bob Wills and Jimmie Rodgers, who were inducted in Cleveland for their "early influence on rock and roll").
In addition to his work with Cash, Grant was also the manager of the Statler Brothers. He played bass on their breakthrough hit "Flowers on the Wall."
Grant wrote an autobiography of his time with Cash, titled I Was There When It Happened: My Life With Johnny Cash, published in 2006.
In Tweeting news of Grant's death Rosanne Cash said:
"Marshall Grant, original of Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two, died lst nt. Grateful I was w/ him last 2 days. Boom Chicka Boom, old friend."
Marshall Grant was 83.