In Memoriam, June Carter Cash
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MARGARET WARNER: Finally tonight, remembering June Carter Cash, the singer and songwriter who died last night. Arts correspondent Jeffrey Brown has that.
JUNE CARTER CASH: Love is a burning thing and it makes a fire…
JEFFREY BROWN: June Carter Cash was a pioneer in the world of country music, a woman who made a name for herself as a member of a legendary family, and as a songwriter in her own right. To many, she was best known as the dedicated wife and longtime partner of singer Johnny Cash. She wrote songs for him and they often performed together. Cash was at her bedside last night when she died in a Nashville Hospital from complications from heart surgery. (singing in background) June Carter was born into one of the first families of country music. She first performed at age ten on a radio program, and soon began appearing on stage with her mother, Maybelle Carter, and family members, including her sisters Anita and Helen.
JUNE CARTER CASH: When we first came to the Grand Ole Opry, we came in 1950 with Mother Maybelle and we had a tall skinny guitar player named Chet Atkins with us.
JEFFREY BROWN: The Carters became fixtures at the Grand Ole Opry. By the mid-’50s, June was touring with Elvis Presley. He told her about a young singer named Johnny Cash who, like her, was recently divorced.
JUNE CARTER CASH: John was in a lot of pain from having to come out of his first divorce. I was in a lot of pain from having come out of mine, and I thought, if he can stay straight for six months, then I think I’ll marry him.
JEFFREY BROWN: Their marriage lasted 35 years. One of the most well-known songs she wrote for him was “Ring of Fire.”
JOHNNY CASH: A fire of rain bound by wild desire I fell into a ring of fire
JEFFREY BROWN: June would eventually help cash break a serious addiction to alcohol and drugs, often by hiding and throwing away his pills.
JOHNNY CASH: June kept saying, “You can make it. You can do it.” So I believed her, because she proved it to me before that we could do it.
JEFFREY BROWN: The couple often sang for prisoners. Here’s from a documentary, their Grammy-winning song, “Jackson.”
JUNE AND JOHNNY CASH SINGING: We got married…we been talkin’ about Jackson –
JOHNNY CASH: ever since the fire went out I’m going to Jackson I’m going to mess around yeah I’m going to Jackson; look out Jackson town
JUNE CARTER CASH: Y’all come on down to Jackson go ahead and wreck your heels go play your handy big talkin’ and make a big fool of yourself. yeah go to Jackson you big talkin’ man and I’ll be waitin’ in Jackson…
JEFFREY BROWN: June Cash’s funeral will be held Sunday in Nashville. She was 73.