Creating a February Fever – Johnny & June: Engaged in a Fever February 22, 2018
The London Music Awards (FCLMA) will be heating up February by making it hotter than a pepper sprout. If that sounds like the words to Jackson — the signature song of country superstars June Carter and Johnny Cash — it should. The awards program is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Cash’s on-stage proposal to Carter on Feb. 22, 1968 at the old London Gardens with a country music gala 50 years to the day after it happened.Show/Hide
February 22, 2018 at the London Music Hall, LMA presents – Johnny & June: Engaged in a Fever – A 50th Anniversary Celebration of that Magical Night at the London Gardens, February 22, 1968
Guests of honour include W.S “Fluke” Holland, Cash’s drummer who was behind the kit at the iconic 1968 London Gardens show and Tommy Cash, Johnny’s younger brother. JRLMA winners The Marrieds perform a tribute to Johnny and June with guest appearances by Holland and Cash.
Proud supporter of Johnny & June: Engaged in a Fever
What you need to know:
More London musicians will be joining the show and other guests who know the Cash-Carter-London story will be here on Feb. 22 or during Jack Richardson London Music Week 2018 (April 8-15).
Filmmaker Jonathan Holiff and author Julie Chadwick will be here on April 15 as London and the FCLMA continue to celebrate that hot February night.
JOHNNY & JUNE & LONDON BACKGROUND
- Drummer WS “Fluke” Holland is known around the world as a pioneer
of Rockabilly, Country, Folk and Rock & Roll. His driving “train-like” rhythms and innovative shuffles are distinctively present on dozens of icon-hit records including, Folsom Prison Blues, Ring of Fire, I walk the Line. Boy Named Sue and dozens of other recording by Johnny Cash and The Tennessee3. WS was behind the kit for Cash’s band for the magical night February 22, 1968 at the London Gardens.
- Tommy Cash is the younger brother of Country music icon Johnny Cash. He is an accomplished musician himself. After serving in the Army Tommy played with Hank Williams Jr.. Through his career Tommy scored a number of Billboard hits. In 1969 he delivered his biggest hit, a tune dedicated to JFK, RFK and Martin Luther King entitled, “Six White Horses.” Tommy continues to tour, is a motivational speaker and the voice behind dozens of television commercials.
- Before there was Johnny and June, there was Johnny and Saul … the late Londoner Saul Holiff managed Johnny Cash through the 1960s before parting ways on the Londoner’s terms in 1973.
- It was Saul Holiff who brought June Carter into the Cash touring family in 1961. As the tours continued, Cash and Carter — who were married to others — fell in love.
- June Carter had been married twice, had two children, and had toured for years with her mother, Maybelle, who was part of the original Carter Family, country music pioneers in the 1920s.
- In the early 1960s, June Carter co-wrote Ring of Fire with fellow songwriter Merle Kilgore. Ring Of Fire was about her relationship with Johnny Cash. In 1963, Johnny recorded the song with the Carter Family singing backup, and added horns. The song became a No.1 hit.
- The on-stage proposal came a few years later. Holiff recalled that the country superstar, deeply in love with Carter, kept his plans to propose on stage a secret. Cash kept hinting something big was forthcoming before popping the question on Feb. 22, 1968. Making the proposal on-stage at the London Gardens in Holiff’s hometown was a nod to Holiff’s support of Cash through the Cash-caused disasters of earlier days.
- That night, Carter initially tried frantically to brush off the invitation. She shot back “sing a song, John” and tried to lead the band into the next number on the setlist. Cash stoically waited for an an answer. There were cries of “say yes” from the audience, Carter did accept the proposal. But her “yes” must have been quiet. “They were all a dither for a moment or two, and I don’t think she answered him, or at least not so that we all could hear,” former London-area journalist Ralph Willsey recounted in a story for the Ottawa Citizen in 1998.
- The made-in-London wedding proposal eventually led to one movie with Oscar buzz, an excellent documentary film and a fine book,
- The proposal became a big moment in 2005’s hit biopic Walk The Line, Joaquin Phoenix was Cash. Reese Witherspoon was Carter — and won an Oscar.
- But the location for the proposal was given as “Ontario, Canada” and the beautiful Orpheum Theatre in Memphis provided the fictionalized setting. The 1960s’ hockey barn and London where it really happened were not on screen.
- Much worse, Walk The Line left Saul Holiff out of the story. That odd and hurtful omission helped inspire another film. Setting the record straight is Jonathan Holiff’s terrific documentary film My Father And The Man In Black. London-born Jonathan is the son of Saul Holiff.
- In turn, B.C. author Julie Chadwick was inspired by Jonathan Holiff’s moving film to write The Man Who Carried Cash about the Londoner and the country superstar — and June Carter — teaming to conquer the entertainment world.
- One last Cash and London note. — Londoners will remember the ATM connection to the Man in Black.
“How many times have you been caught short, and the only thing between you and your money is the clock … you know, Canada Trust has a better idea,” the musician told Canadian TV audiences in a 1985 commercial announcing the rollout of the London-based Canada Trust’s line of automatic “JohnnyCash” machines.
- June Carter and Johnny Cash died months apart in 2003. Saul Holiff died in 2005.
- — With files from London Free Press, Postmedia News, Wikipedia, The Guardian
For more information contact James Stewart Reaney 226-268-7063, Scott Bollert 519-494-5518