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The Heartbreaking Truth Behind Johnny Cash's First Public Appearance Since June Carter's Death

June carter Songs | The Heartbreaking Truth Behind Johnny Cash's First Public Appearance Since June Carter's Death | Country Music Videos
Photo credit: YouTube/folkarchivist

They had one of the greatest love stories in country music. Johnny Cash and June Carter met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in 1956 while they were both married to other people.

Although unavailable, their love was undeniable. They would eventually divorce from their spouses and after several unsuccessful proposals, June finally said she would marry Johnny in 1968.

Because of their deep romantic connection, their musical chemistry was off the charts. The music they wrote together was powerful and watching them perform together was like watching magic.

Johnny and June were married for 35 years, until her passing on May 13, 2003. June passed away from complications following her heart-valve replacement surgery. Johnny was holding her hand.

Almost two months after her death, Johnny bravely took the stage to perform a 30-minute show in Hilton, Virginia.

Although wheelchair bound, Johnny insisted on walking to the stage. Dressed in all black, naturally, he sat center stage with his guitar in hand.

He began the concert with his signature line, "Hi, I'm Johnny Cash." His voice was deeper and more gravelly than ever.

He first played "Folsom Prison Blues", followed by "Sunday Morning Coming Down". The crowd of 700 was enjoying every second of this performance, and you could hear their enjoyment in their applause and cheers.

"I don't really know what to say about how I feel tonight, being up here without her," he told the crowd. 

Following this statement, the crowd fell silent. You could hear the emotion in his voice, and see it on his face.

He continued, playing a song his lovely bride wrote for him titled "Ring of Fire" and finished his performance with a song he hadn't performed live in 25 years, "Understand Your Man".

This performance was a momentous occasion for two unbelievable reasons. It was his first performance since June passed, and it also became his final live performance ever.

Johnny passed away on September 12, 2003 due to complications with diabetes. It has been suggested that his health condition worsened due to a broken heart over June's death less than four months prior.

Enjoy Johnny Cash's last ever performance below. 

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