“I want a love like Johnny and June
Rings of fire burning with you
I wanna walk the line, walk the line, ‘til the end of time”
I grew up listening to Johnny Cash. Let me rephrase that: I grew up hanging around my dad all the time, and my dad listens to Johnny Cash. Johnny’s version of Nine Inch Nails “Hurt” was on the radio this morning and I started thinking about his older music.
In a 1981 Mike Douglas interview, June Carter Cash explained, “He asked me to marry him in front of 7,000 people, but I would have liked it if he had gotten down on his knees and proposed to me, you know, but that wasn’t the way it was. It was a great big production…” Johnny continued the story, “We had just sung a song called ‘Jackson’, and I stopped the show and said, ‘Will you marry me?’ on the microphone. She said, ‘Go, sing another, sing another, sing another!’ I said, ‘I’m not gonna sing until you answer me. Will you marry me?’ And she says, ‘Sing a song. Sing a song.’ She turned her back, you know, trying to get somebody in the band to play some music or something. [It] kept going until she finally said, ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘Okay, next song.’ So, we set it up. We got married March 1, 1968.”
“There’s unconditional love there. You hear that phrase a lor but it’s real with me and her. She loves me in spite of everything, in spite of myself. She has saved my life more than once. She’s always been there with her love, and it has certainly made me forget the pain for a long time, many times. When it gets dark and everybody’s gone home and the lights are turned off, it’s just me and her.” (Johnny Cash, Rolling Stone)