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