An A&R man must be “human”

Following his departure from Sun Records in 1958, Johnny Cash joined forces with Columbia Records to release all future material; however it wasn’t until 1964, six years later, that Cash – a recording artist renowned within the industry for his inability to adhere to schedules – officially signed with the label. The following letter of commendation was sent that year by Cash to a Ken Clancy at the label, and goes some way to identifying the reason behind Cash’s decision: a patient A&R man by the name of Don Law.

Transcript follows.



OCT 3 1964

To Mr Ken Clancy

Tonight I signed a five-year recording contract with Colombia Records.—

May I ask you to understand that I did not read the contract before doing so. I only did it for your legal dept’s benefit.

If commendations are still a special thing – then know that I, for whatever it’s worth, commend Mr. Don Law on his “humanity-ty”. (and perseverence)

I’m sure you fully realise that a C/W A&R man must be “human”, “down-to-eath”, like “one of the folks next door”…… Because non-business, down to earth artists, such as myself, work with them.

My only regret is that I wasn’t with Columbia Records, and Don Law, for the very first.


Johnny Cash