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John Prine

Wednesday, Apr 8, 2020

* Very sad news

John Prine, who for five decades wrote rich, plain-spoken songs that chronicled the struggles and stories of everyday working people and changed the face of modern American roots music, died Tuesday at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was 73. The cause was complications related to COVID-19, his family confirmed to Rolling Stone.

Prine, who left behind an extraordinary body of folk-country classics, was hospitalized last month after the sudden onset of COVID-19 symptoms, and was placed in intensive care for 13 days. Prine’s wife and manager, Fiona, announced on March 17th that she had tested positive for the virus after they had returned from a European tour.

* Rest in peace

Yeah I’m gonna smoke a cigarette that’s nine miles long

I still say that Wordslinger was right and Prine’s name should be carved into the State Library building with all the other Illinois literary greats. We’ll get to that after this crisis ends.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Nieva - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 8:55 am:

    I have lost my music.

  2. - lakeside - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:00 am:

    When I was 14, Angel from Montgomery was the first song I ever performed in front of people.

    But that was a long time and no matter how I try
    The years just flow by like a broken down dam.

    Feels like losing a close friend.

  3. - SAP - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:02 am:

    Just a crying shame. His name should be on the library and it’s too bad it will have to be posthumous.

  4. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:03 am:

    Just horrible. Was hoping so much that he would pull through.

  5. - Siualum - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:04 am:

    One of Illinois’ finest. So sad.

  6. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:10 am:


  7. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:10 am:

    The music will always be there - Sam Stone, Hello In There, Angel from Montgomery, and, of course, Dear Abby - “You are what you are and you ain’t what you aint/So listen up buster and listen up good/Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood.”

  8. - ChattyHam - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:12 am:

    I had no idea he was from Maywood.

  9. - A Guy - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:13 am:

    RIP John. Your music was the melody of existence.

  10. - Dingo - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:14 am:

    “Sayin’ goodbye with tears in my eyes…”

  11. - Chad Hays - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:16 am:

    Illinois and Chicagoland have lost a giant. Humble, kind, wise, poignant, funny . . . .a storyteller of the highest order.

    Hello In There quite possibly the greatest sad song ever.

    Kris Kristofferson said of Prine when he first met him - “he is 22 and writes like he is 200”. Dylan sat in with him in Greenwich Village before the public even knew him because he thought his songs were so good.

    This man is on the Mt. Rushmore of singer/songwriters.

    RIP John Prine.

  12. - Keyrock - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:21 am:

    I saw him several times over the years. I particularly remember his moving version of “Angel from Montgomery” with Bonnie Raitt at the Steve Goodman tribute show at McCormick Place, following Steve’s death.

    Jeff Tweedy sang that song, and some other Prine songs, on his family’s daily coronavirus live stream last night. Jeff and the audience were verklempt.

    Rest in Peace, John.

  13. - @misterjayem - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:25 am:

    His songs tore me up while he was still alive — no telling what they’ll do to me now.

    – MrJM

  14. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:25 am:

    RIP the amazing talent that was John Prine . You may see me tonight with an illegal smile .

  15. - Responsa - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:26 am:

    I’ve been playing this “Heaven” song over and over all morning long. It helps.

  16. - The Bashful Raconteur - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:31 am:

    Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios. mmmmm

  17. - Dancing Bears - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:34 am:

    This is so hard for me to process. I’m incredibly grateful my dad took me to see him at Sangamon Auditorium in 2007. My earliest memories are driving around Illinois with my folks, jamming out to John. He should be our designated ‘State Musician’.

  18. - OutHereInTheMiddle - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:39 am:

    The most important thing I can say is that John Prine was just a guy. Just an everyday guy. No pretense. No “image”. Just an everyday guy writing songs in simple, ordinary language that eloquently expressed the emotions of life.

    One of my sons was working part-time at a music venue a few years ago and met John backstage. He said the only thing he could think to say was that he had been listening to John’s music his entire life. John’s response was “Well your parents must have pretty good taste!”.

    Don’t I could come close to naming a favorite song but listening to him sing Paradise in Central City KY last summer was a once in a lifetime moment. Our whole family is missing him today.

  19. - Silent Budgeteer - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:42 am:

    Every time I drove to St. Louis and saw the giant Peabody sign, I was always reminded of “Paradise”. Even now, “Summer’s End” from his last album holds a reminder for me of my sister’s passing; the song was released early, just about the time I lost her. To this day, I cannot even think about this song without crying and remembering her. I thank the good Lord for the gift of John Prine and his music; may his memory be eternal. This one really hurts.

  20. - Mugs - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:42 am:

    John Prine played the Rialto in Joliet on November 14, 2015. He introduced “Christmas in Prison” by saying, “This is for the guys up at Stateville.” I was in tears then and I am in tears now.

  21. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:52 am:

    I just listened to a very well done tribute done by the BBC.

  22. - James - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    I used to deliver pizzas to his mom and brother Dave in Maywood, when John was playing the Fifth Peg and just about to break out nationally. His lyrics qualify as literature.

  23. - Right to be wrong - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 9:58 am:

    Please don’t bury him, down in the cold cold ground…

  24. - North Park - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 10:04 am:

    “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes.”

    1970, folks. One of the saddest addiction songs ever written.

  25. - Amalia - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 10:14 am:

    very sad. reading so many posts on Facebook from friends. I will admit I kinda took him for granted in the early days. a group of pals was obsessed with Steve Goodman and Prine would be around and mentioned as somewhat of an after thought, perhaps cause he was so handsome. you don’t even need to hear him to experience the magic. just reading his words is inspiring.

  26. - Dog Lover - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 10:14 am:

    My brother-in-law said the song “In Spite of Ourselves” should be the theme song for my husband and me. I love the video of him performing it with Iris DeMent.

    Big ole hearts dancin’ in our eyes.

    My husband texted me the youtube link this morning. I cried when I watched it. It’s a late night favorite when we’re into our music.

  27. - Donnie Elgin - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 10:16 am:

    Hus Widows request

    In lieu of flowers or gifts at this time we would ask that a donation be made to one of the following non profits:

  28. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 10:36 am:

    Mr. Peabody’s coal trains done hauled it away.

    RIP John Prine

  29. - Terry Steczo - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 10:52 am:

    The world is a sadder place today with John’s loss. His words and music will live on, thank goodness. “Broken hearts and dirty windows make life difficult to see.” RIP

  30. - George - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 11:13 am:

    SAP - first thing that should be named after John Prine is a post office - specifically the one in Westchester where he worked. The Lakeview post office is named for Steve Goodman. John should get one also,

  31. - BluegrassBoy - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    Plant a little garden and eat a lot of peaches for John today. His words will always live on with me, thank you for so many great songs. RIP Mr. Prine

  32. - SAP - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    If you have 10 minutes, do yourself a favor and watch his performance of “Lake Marie” Live From Sessions at West 54th, if for no other reason than the sheer joy on his face in the last minute or so of the song.

  33. - repete - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 11:45 am:

    Halfway to heaven with Paradise waiting just five miles away from wherever he is.

  34. - Washingtonian - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 1:17 pm:

    Been a fan 50 years.Great American whose flag decal will get him into heaven. Thank you and rest in peace.

  35. - Senator Clay Davis - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 1:36 pm:

    Sad loss of an American music treasure. I was lucky enough to see him perform in the auditorium at Proviso East HS about ten years ago. It was surreal to hear the origin stories of songs like Whistle and Fish or Bruised Orange, then drive past the drive ins and local commuter trains mentioned in those classics.

    1000% agree with the push to add his name to the State Library. He’s one of the greatest artists Illinois ever produced. There are enough lobbyists and lawmakers reading this post to make that happen.

  36. - XonXoff - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 1:46 pm:

    So sad. Such a storyteller.

  37. - Excitable Boy - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 1:46 pm:

    As sad as I am I know that John Prine can’t really die. Whether I’m listening to his music or badly playing and singing it myself, he’ll be there with me.

    That’s also how I feel when you post old wordslinger comments. Please keep doing so.

  38. - Jeff Schoenberg - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    Stayed up much, much later than I should’ve last night absorbing his music and cradling the lyrics. John Prine painted pictures in the air with his wry sense of humor, his boundless humility and his innate gift for articulating the searing pain and aching loneliness that he and so many others experienced.

  39. - Rich Hill - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    John Prine lived in Nashville for a long time, but he’d go back to Maywood. About ten years ago, he did a couple shows at Proviso East to benefit the Maywood Fine Arts Association. Posters promoting it were plastered over the western suburbs, often in businesses that didn’t usually have show posters.

    By this point, he had survived one of two bouts of cancer and was as successful as ever. He still found time to give back, in a celebratory and festive manner.

    Very talented people are not always nice people. John Prine more than cleared both of those bars.

  40. - d. p. gumby - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 4:16 pm:

    If Dylan can win the Nobel for Literature, then Prine’s name can go on the state library!

  41. - The Snowman - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 4:18 pm:

    The song “Saigon” from his Pink Cadillac album is pretty cool. May he Rest In Peace.

  42. - Oldpanda - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 4:40 pm:

    I had the pleasure of knowing him near the beginning of his career when I hung out at the Earl of Old Town across from Second City. A thoughtful and gentle man as well as a monumental talent.

  43. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 5:13 pm:


  44. - Sandy Stein - Wednesday, Apr 8, 20 @ 7:19 pm:

    And Dady won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg County,
    Down by the Green River where Paradise lay
    RIP John Prine

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