Johnny Cash's first singles for Sun Records were models of concision, a handful of vividly spare performances in which every note Cash and his Tennessee Two played stood out in sharp relief. By 1958, Cash was three years into his recording career, and after a few hits, Cash's recordings began to gain a bit more polish and production value. While the minimalist guitar picking of Luther Perkins provided the focal point of Cash's early sides, his eighth single, "Guess Things Happen That Way," featured an arrangement dominated by piano and a vocal chorus adding distinctive "ba-doo"s throughout. While the results sounded slicker than, say, "Cry Cry Cry" or "I Walk the Line," "Guess Things Happen That Way" has an eccentric tone all its own -- largely because the vocal chorus (who sound as if they're occupying a middle ground between doo wop and barbershop quartet) is in such stark contrast to Cash's lead vocal. "Guess Things Happen That Way" is a song about a man struggling to put his life back together after the love of his life has left him ("You ask me if I'll forget my baby/I guess I will, someday/I don't like it, but I guess things happen that way"), and Cash's vocal is a striking mixture of hurt, confusion, and anger as he tries to make sense of his conflicting emotions, which bubble just below the song's placid surface. The depths of Cash's voice have always communicated a great deal more than what one heard at face value, and "Guess Things Happen That Way" proved how he could work this magic with the most ordinary material. The song became Cash's third number one country hit in the spring of 1958, staying at the top of the charts for eight weeks.