Grammy-award winning singer and songwriter John Prine died on 7th April 2020 at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, Nashville, Tennessee. The 73-year-old legend in country music circles was undergoing treatment for complications relating to the COVID-19 virus.
He was a songwriters’ songwriter. Respected and admired by the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash, Prine’s legacy will live on in the hearts of fans.
Over here on E Street, we are crushed by the loss of John Prine. John and I were "New Dylans" together in the early 70s and he was never anything but the lovliest guy in the world. A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages. We send our love and prayers to his family.
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) April 8, 2020
John Prine’s written and recorded work dates back to Maywood, Illinois in the early 1970s. However, he wrote his first songs ‘Sour Grapes’ and ‘The Frying Pan’ and the age of 14 years old. Even then, he was channeling the likes of Hank Williams and Roger Miller. Simply put, no one could meld humour, heartbreak, and social commentary in country music quite like Prine.
Many have tried to pen those deceptively simple arrangements but none have come close to having John Prine’s gift. Having served in the military in Germany, when he wrote ‘Hello In There’ and ‘Sam Stone’, you knew they were written for himself, for the working man, for everyone.
Kris Kristofferson discovered Prine on the Chicago folk-revival scene and produced his debut album in 1971. Over the next five decades, Prine’s voice became that of the everyday hard-working American.
We love you John.
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) April 8, 2020
As well as his impressive body of songwriting work, Prine was an author, actor, and record-label owner. He was a member of the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and a double Grammy winner. In recent times, his work has been covered by the likes of Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, and Brandi Carlisle. Others who lent their voices to Prine’s works include George Strait, Carly Simon, Don Williams, Joan Baez, Carl Perkins, Bette Midler, and many more.
— K A C E Y (@KaceyMusgraves) April 8, 2020
It has often been said, there are no bad John Prine songs. Here are just some of our favourites to enjoy as you raise a glass and remember one of the greats.