'The Essential Johnny Cash' focuses on the early part of the legend's career...

To commemorate the upcoming 70th birthday of the legendary JOHNNY CASH, COLUMBIA records are set to release ‘MAN IN BLACK: THE VERY BEST OF JOHNNY CASH’, a new compilation covering his five-decade career.

The album is due for release in the UK on February 25, a day before Cash’s birthday. It will be released in the US on February 12 with several track changes.

A UK spokesperson for Cash said that though final tracklisting for the double album was just now being confirmed, the record would span the early Sun recording years – when Cash shared studio time with other maverick greats Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins – right through until 2000.

Columbia in the US plans to ride on renewed interest that Johnny Cash’s birthday will bring by re-releasing five of his classic albums. 1959’s ‘The Fabulous Johnny Cash’, 1959’s ‘Hymns by Johnny Cash’, 1960’s ‘Ride This Train: A Stirring Travelogue of America in Song and Story’, 1965’s ‘Orange Blossom Special’ and 1967’s ‘Carryin’ On With Johnny Cash And June Carter’, will all appear on March 12. Each remastered album will feature bonus tracks from the period and will include the original and newly commissioned liner notes, reports Billboard.