Though June Carter and Johnny Cash were remarkable solo artists, collaborating only increased their appeal—and the songs that feature both singers are some of the best of their careers.
When legendary country music star June Carter Cash died May 15, 2003, she left behind a large legacy and extended family, including her husband, Johnny Cash. Johnny died soon thereafter, barely four months after his partner of 35 years.
It was not hard to believe that he couldn’t live without June: their marriage had thrived on June’s nurturing. As her stepdaughter, Roseanne Cash, said at June’s funeral, “If being a wife were a corporation, June would have been a CEO. It was her most treasured role.”
But the couple’s partnership extended far beyond mutual love and caring. Johnny and June Carter Cash maintained a strong working relationship too, recording and performing together throughout their marriage. Though both were remarkable solo artists, working together only increased their appeal—and the songs that feature both singers are some of the best of their careers.
June Carter and her family—mother Maybelle and sisters Anita and Helen—had performed with Johnny Cash for many years before June and Johnny married on March 1, 1968. Indeed, one of the couple’s greatest musical triumphs came in the year before they wed. Maybe a bit of romantic tension drove the fantastic collaboration that resulted in “Jackson.” The single hit No. 2 and won the couple a Grammy.
Three years later, now married, June and Johnny nabbed another Grammy with the sweet tune “If I Were a Carpenter.”
The couple shared their faith together when they sang gospel pieces like “The Old Rugged Cross.”
Johnny and June’s duet version of the Bob Dylan-penned “It Ain’t Me Babe” was featured in the 2005 biopic that detailed their courtship, “Walk the Line.”
It’s been more than a decade since the two were together on Earth. But we imagine that June and Johnny are still making beautiful music together, somewhere.