The love story of Johnny Cash and June Carter is one of the most iconic in country music history. It has inspired an award-winning movie, books, and even modern-day country hits like Heidi Newfield’s “(I Wanna Love Like) Johnny & June.” While it’s obvious that many view this pairing as a match made in heaven, it was not without its Earthly influences. Apparently, Elvis Presley was not only good at stealing hearts… he could match them.
Cash and Carter had both found success before joining forces
Although it’s now rare to hear one of these stars’ names without the other, both Cash and Carter had found significant musical success before they were ever a couple. According to Town & Country, Carter began contributing her voice to the family band when she was just ten years old. It was her later endeavor, a grouping with her sisters and mother, that first took her to the Grand Ole Opry stage.
Cash’s music career started later in life. He joined the Air Force and married young, moving to Memphis after his return from Germany. For a while, music was just a hobby as Cash sold appliances and raised his children — a group that would soon contain four daughters.
After he was introduced to the two men who would become his back-up guitarists, however, he was off to the races. One of his earliest songs, “Hey Porter,” would be the start in making Johnny Cash a household name.
By the time Cash and Carter first met in June 1956, they would both have one marriage and a litany of hits under their belts. They had no way of knowing how a simple introduction would change the course of their careers and lives.
The King of Rock and Roll introduced the king and queen of country
The Grand Ole Opry circuit was tight-knit, and contained some surprising names. Everyone’s favorite heartthrob, Elvis Presley, was signed to the same Sun record label that had claimed Cash. He was a frequent face in the country world as the music genre began to draw inspiration from rock and roll.
According to The Guardian, Presley was a friend of Carter’s and often sung the praises of his fellow Sun artist. She’s quoted as saying: “Elvis had been raving about what a great singer Johnny Cash was.” She also noted that her daughter was a huge fan of Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” and it was a song that Carter would use to rock her to sleep.
Needless to say, when Cash and Carter were finally introduced backstage at the Opry, it was a special moment. Cash was about to make his on-stage debut with his song called “Walk the Line.” Though the couple wouldn’t be married for twelve more years, their love would go on to inspire a movie of the same name.
Cash and Carter’s love story was beautiful from start to finish
Despite their iconic proposal being delayed for many years, Cash and Carter would rack up 35 years of marriage together. This time would be filled with ups and downs, from the birth of their son to Cash’s ongoing struggles with addiction.
Fans and family alike were devastated by Carter’s passing in 2003. No one was ready to see the beautiful couple separated, least of all Cash. He died just four months after Carter from respiratory failure — although it’s hard not to attribute his death, as many do, to a broken heart.
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