This song was written by June Carter Cash & Merle Kilgore and was originally recorded by June's sister, Anita Carter, on the Mercury Records album ‘Folk Songs Old and New’ with the title of “Love's Ring of Fire". When Johnny Cash heard it he told Anita if it wasn’t a hit within 6 months he wanted to record a version. The rest is history and the Cash version which appeared on the 1963 album ‘Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash’ was then recorded on March 25, 1963. It became one of his biggest hits. It stayed at number one on the country chart for seven weeks and went ‘Gold’ in January, 2010 and has also sold over 1.2 million digital downloads.
Although "Ring of Fire" sounds ominous, it actually refers to falling in love, which is what June Carter was experiencing with Johnny at the time. It is said Carter had seen the phrase "Love is like a burning ring of fire," underlined in one of her uncle A. P. Carter's Elizabethan books of poetry. She worked with Kilgore on writing a song inspired by this phrase as she had seen her uncle do in the past. She wrote "There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns".
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