Revisionist historians will claim he was always a huge star, but the reality is that his career rose and fell more than once.
When I was a kid of pre-school age I would sit in the home of my uncle with oversized headphones clamped to my tiny head and listen to Johnny and others.
When I started school it seemed that everyone knew who Elvis was, and of course a few had heard of “the man in black” to, but in the main he was a country star and existed in parents record collections gathering dust.
He certainly wasn't someone that the cool kids gravitated towards.
Then during high school it wasn't much different, and I clung to my vinyl albums at home while alternating between listening to him, Sinatra, punk and heavy metal.
It’s really on in recent years, with Rick Ruben coming along and the biopic doing so well, that Johnny’s star has risen so high that it has become firmly lodged in the firmament.
It now seems to me that you can’t have a quiet drink in a bar without at some point seeing a young man, or woman, sauntering past with Johnny’s middle finger emblazoned on their chest challenging the world to say something.
Yet I'm not an old curmudgeon who cares if it’s a fashion statement, or whether the wearer is a real dyed in the wool fan, because a part of me loves the idea that Johnny has now joined the ranks of those who will never be forgotten.
Very soon an album of lost tracks will be available and here’s “she used to love me a lot” from it.
I've listened to it three times now, and this isn't going to take anything away from Johnny.