September 8

Melancholia Strikes with Jean Shepard’s “Dear John” and “Forgive Me”

To soldiers who have had their share of experiences with “Dear John” letters, be forewarned!

Try not to get your heart broken over Jean Shepard’s and duet partner Ferlin Husky’s cover of the song that bore that title.


Hope you’re still dry-eyed after listening to this soul-full piece. This is one among the many reasons why we love the traditional country. The music accompaniments are good, but they never overshadow the song lyrics. Moreover, the arrangement for “Dear John” here is brilliant with Jean singing and Ferlin reciting.

The subject has been around for some time; a common experience for several soldiers sent out to foreign lands. Just imagining how their hearts have been crushed is unbearable. Still, that wouldn’t stop us from appreciating Jean Shepard’s incomparable delivery of the song. She and the song may have grown old, but her take on it is ageless. There’s nothing like Jean Shepard in the music history.


Written by Billy Barton, Fuzzy Owen, and Lewis Talley and was popularized by Ferlin Husky and Jean Shepard..in 1953. The song played on the concept of a Dear John letter while referencing the United States’ involvement in the Korean War. Here, a young woman, whose boyfriend John was stationed in Korea, writes stating that she is breaking off the relationship. To add to the heartbreak: She is marrying John’s brother, Don, and wants her photograph back (because — according to the lyrics — Don wants it now). (from Wikipedia)

And just when you thought things would get better with the follow-up song, “Forgive Me, John,” it takes us to the realization that actual love stories aren’t  fairy tales. Not all lovers would end up together.


Tough I know. Still, this song is worth embracing for those who need closure in the romance department.


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