Four Musicians The G.I. Bill Put On Their Way

Categories: Miles-tones

Library of Congress
FDR signs the G.I. Bill
Wednesday is the 65th anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt signing the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, better known to us as the G.I. Bill. Though the bill did many things, including unemployment compensation for veterans as well as home loans, it's probably best known for helping soldiers pay for a college education. In 2008, the bill was revamped to expand the benefits to the full price of any public college in the beneficiaries' home state, a housing allowance, and a stipend of $1,000 for books.

Most of us are aware of the sweet deal the U.S. government offers the brave men and women who risk being shot on its behalf, but you might not be aware of how much great music the world might have missed out on if the G.I. Bill hadn't passed. It's a pretty diverse group.

cash by joel baldwin.jpg
Joel Baldwin
Johnny Cash: This is Texas, so we'll keep the description short. Johnny Cash is the country artist everyone from rappers to goths can get behind. The Man in Black epitomized tough living, hard songs and the quest for artistic solace right up till the end of his long career.

Cash started playing guitar in the as an airman in the U.S. Air Force, where he was stationed in San Antonio. An early version of "Folsom Prison Blues" was written during this period. Once he was out of the service, the G.I. Bill let him study broadcasting while playing in a country trio at night.

One year later, back in Memphis, Cash had his first hit record for Sun with "Cry Cry Cry."

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Awesome article, Jef.

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