Johnny Cash's letter to his wife June Carter has been voted the greatest love letter of all time.
According to a new poll of 1,000 people, the legendary Country musician's note is the considered the most romantic, and it's easy to see why, with lines such as “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”.
Johnny and June married in 1968 on March 1, after he proposed to her during a live performance in London, Ontario. The couple had known each other for 13 years after they met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, but only officially got together after he got divorced from his first wife Vivian Liberto in 1966.
The couple had one child together, John Carter Cash. June died in May 2003 at the age of 73, and Johnny followed four months later aged 71, due to complications with his diabetes, although many believe that his decline was hastened by his broken heart over his wife's death.
“June 23 1994
Happy Birthday Princess,
We get old and get used 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.
His message to his wife (transcript above) which he wrote in 1994 on her 65th birthday, beat other notable love letters, including those from Keats and Jimi Hendrix, who all wrote beautiful heartfelt lines to their loved ones.
Commissioned by life insurance company Beagle Street (romantic, eh?), voters put Winston Churchill's letter to his wife Clementine the second most romantic of all time. His letter is to his “darling Clemmie” and spoke of how he “always feel[s] so overwhelmingly in your debt, if there can be accounts in love.”
Perhaps rather surprisingly, King Henry VIII also makes the list with his love letter to Anne Boleyn, who was later executed by the king. Nonetheless, the king professes his love to the fated Anne with the following words: “I beg to know expressly your intention touching the love between us. Necessity compels me to obtain this answer, having been more than a year wounded by the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail or find a place in your affection.”
Top ten greatest love letters
1. Johnny Cash wishes wife June Carter Cash a happy 65th birthday (1994)
“We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each other’s 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 a while, like today, I meditate on it and realise how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met.”
2. Winston Churchill tells wife Clementine Churchill of his undying love (1935)
“My darling Clemmie, in your letter from Madras you wrote some words very dear to me, about having enriched your life. I cannot tell you what pleasure this gave me, because I always feel so overwhelmingly in your debt, if there can be accounts in love.”
3. John Keats tells next door neighbour Fanny Brawne he cannot live without her (1819)
“I cannot exist without you - I am forgetful of everything but seeing you again - my Life seems to stop there - I see no further. You have absorb'd me.”
4. Ernest Hemingway professes his love to Marlene Dietrich (1951)
“I can't say how every time I ever put my arms around you I felt that I was home.”
5. Napoleon Bonaparte sends his love to Josephine de Beauharnais (1796)
“Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude. The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart.”
6. Richard Burton tells Elizabeth Taylor of her beauty (1964)
“My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you. You don't realize of course, E.B., how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness.”
7. King Henry VIII expresses his love for Anne Boleyn (1527)
“I beg to know expressly your intention touching the love between us. Necessity compels me to obtain this answer, having been more than a year wounded by the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail or find a place in your affection.”
8. Beethoven pens his love for his 'Immortal Beloved' whose true identity remains a mystery (1812)
“Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, Be calm–love me–today–yesterday–what tearful longings for you–you–you–my life–my all–farewell. Oh continue to love me–never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”
9. Gerald Ford reminds wife Betty Ford of his and their family's love for her shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer (1974)
“No written words can adequately express our deep, deep love. We know how great you are and we, the children and Dad, will try to be as strong as you. Our Faith in you and God will sustain us. Our total love for you is everlasting.”
10. Jimi Hendrix tells his “little girl” to spread her wings (date unknown)
“Happiness is within you…. so unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow like the sweet flower you are…..I know the answer—Just spread your wings and set yourself FREE”