The legendary country singer Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter Cash, joined the long list of artists who covered the classic country ballad “Help Me Make It Through The Night.” Just like anyone would expect, they nailed the song easily.
Kris Kristofferson wrote and composed the song for his 1970 self-titled album, with Fred Foster as producer. He first offered the song to Dottie West, but she declined to record it, saying it was too racy for her style.
Later in the year, Sammi Smith released her rendition, and it became a commercial success, topping the country singles chart and even making it a crossover hit. It was the first cover version and the most successful one. In fact, “Help Me Make It Through The Night” became so associated with Smith that it evolved as her signature song.
Amid the success, Smith’s cover of the song earned controversies due to the song’s topic of sexual intimacy (with fans suggesting it pertained to a one-night stand) – the yearning for it to the point of not caring if who or what was wrong or right. As the song said, “Let the devil take tomorrow / Lord, tonight I need a friend.” Yesterday or tomorrow didn’t matter.
Onto The Duet
Unlike the original version and Smith’s, which was mellow and slow at the start, the two went for a more guitar-heavy, upbeat style right off the bat. The arrangement sounded more romantic and definitely happier, befitting a couple’s duet. Johnny’s bass-baritone perfectly complemented his wife’s clear, pure voice.
Their unmatched chemistry was even more highlighted in their live performance of the song. As one commenter said, the way they looked at each other was just true love through and through. They were such a treat to the eyes and, of course, the ears.
Johnny Cash, june carter cash