Country music stars Johnny Cash and June Carter’s love story was documented in unflinching and honest detail in the Oscar-winning film, Walk the Line. Now, the timeless couple are in people’s minds and hearts yet again, after one of their letters has been voted the greatest love letter of all time.
1,000 people were polled with the singing-songwriting couple reigning with this simple note dated from 1994.
June 23 1994
Happy Birthday Princess,
We get old and get use to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.
But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much.
Happy Birthday Princess.
What makes this letter so stop-in-your-tracks romantic is the straight-forwardness of the tone. It echoes Cash’s own lyric writing, which is deemed among the best in country music.
Johnny and June married in 1968 after knowing each other for 13 years. Johnny proposed on stage at a gig in London, Ontario after they had been romantically involved for two years. This letter, written on June’s 65th birthday, proves their love endured for decades in an industry renowned for marriage breakdowns. June died in 2003, aged 73, while Johnny died four months later. In his letter he called her “the greatest woman I ever met.”
Other letters ranked in the Beagle Street poll include missives from Winston Churchill to his wife Clementine. Poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne’s tragic love affair is also included, as well as Napoleon Bonaparte and his Josephine (“The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart.”) and the famously tempestuous union of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Burton wrote, “My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you. You don’t realize of course, EB, how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness.”
King Henry VII’s letter to Anne Boleyn was number seven, which is a little bit uncomfortable considering he had her beheaded.
(Beagle Street, a life insurance company, is doing quite the line in viral material based around romance. This video of elderly couples talking about their happiest moments had us teary-eyed a few weeks ago.)
Is there any letter you think deserves a place in the poll?
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun