Most heartwarming letters written by musicians

We may not send nearly as many letters as we used to, but we remain fascinated by them as historical documents and because they provide insight into the private worlds of people we admire. And while email and other forms of instant digital communication might have made the purpose of a letter in its simplest form redundant, it’s online that we’re now able to investigate many centuries of letter writing.

Here are six sent by musicians that have come to light in recent years…

Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash, 1994

We may not send nearly as many letters as we used to, but we remain fascinated by them as historical documents and because they provide insight into the private worlds of people we admire. And while email and other forms of instant digital communication might have made the purpose of a letter in its simplest form redundant, it’s online that we’re now able to investigate many centuries of letter writing.

Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash, 1994

This 1995 response to a young French fan called Laurence comes with quite a backstory, as detailed on Letters of Note. Laurence, 21, had written a 20-page letter to Iggy Pop telling the former Stooges frontman about “being the child of an acrimonious divorce with a string of social workers, lawyers, greedy estate agents and bailiffs at the door, the fear, the anger, the frustration, the love”.

Laurence didn’t receive a reply until nine months later – the exact day she was being evicted from her Paris home, along with her family. A day later and she may never have got the letter, which reduced her to tears.

Iggy wrote: “thankyou for your gorgeous and charming letter, you brighten up my dim life. i read the whole f****** thing, dear. of course… i want to see you take a deep breath and do whatever you must to survive and find something to be that you can love. you’re obviously a bright f****** chick, w/ a big heart too and i want to wish you a (belated) HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY 21st b’day and happy spirit. i was very miserable and fighting hard on my 21st b’day, too. people booed me on the stage, and i was staying in someone else’s house and i was scared. it’s been a long road since then, but pressure never ends in this life. ‘perforation problems’ by the way means to me also the holes that will always exist in any story we try to make of our lives. so hang on, my love, and grow big and strong and take your hits and keep going.

“all my love to a really beautiful girl. that’s you laurence.”

See the letter on Letters of Note

Fiona Apple to South American “friends”, 2012

It’s frustrating when your heroes cancel tours, especially if you’re fobbed off with a generic excuse sent out by a promoter or press officer. American singer-songwriter Fiona Apple, however, has always treated her fans to the personal touch and few of them in South America would have felt short-changed by her heartfelt reasons for postponing shows on the continent in 2012.

Apple posted a long hand-written letter on her Facebook page, addressing “a few thousand friends I have not met” and explaining that her dog Janet had been “ill for about 2 years now, as a tumor has been idling in her chest, growing ever so slowly. She’s almost 14 years old now. I got her when she was 4 months old. I was 21 then – an adult, officially – and she was my kid.”

She went on to say Janet, who she’d rescued in Los Angeles “with a rope around her neck, and bites all over her ears and face” had been been “the most consistent relationship of my adult life”, adding: “She slept in bed with me, her head on the pillow, and she accepted my hysterical, tearful face into her chest, with her paws around me, every time I was heartbroken, or spirit-broken, or just lost, and as years went by, she let me take the role of her child, as I fell asleep, with her chin resting above my head.”

Apple concluded: “I just can’t leave her now, please understand. If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out… I am staying home, and I am listening to her snore and wheeze, and I am revelling in the swampiest, most awful breath that ever emanated from an angel. And I’m asking for your blessing.”