June Carter Cash 85th Birthday Anniversary

Pittsburgh musician Chet Vincent talks to Cindy Howes about June Carter Cash on what would have been her 85th birthday.

The Carter family was very big in the role of popularizing country music, and June’s big personality made her the star of the show when the family performed. “She didn’t initially sing lead, but she was kind of the star of it. She always saw herself as a comedian or an actress,” Vincent said.

Johnny Cash fell in love with June long before they married. Cash asked June to marry him at least three times before it actually happened so long as Johnny agreed to get clean. “John Cash had a pretty big personality, and it would take someone that would be his equal to get him to get it all together,” Vincent said. June knew Cash’s life even better than he did, Vincent says, from growing up in a musical lifestyle.

June’s voice wasn’t typical of normal country, but as far as performing with Johnny, the two were famously in love, so the performance seemed so much more real. “It’s impossible to separate their back-story from the music that they sang,” Vincent said.

“Jackson,” the best known Johnny and June duet, however, wasn’t written by them, but it’s a perfect song for their whimsical relationship. “John is being pretty childish in it and wants to kind of rebel and go and throw his weight around, and June’s not gonna just wait at home and take it. If he’s gonna do that she’s just gonna be there too laughing at him and callin’ him out.”

Aside from John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Johnny and June remain one of the best love stories in music to date.