John Prine, the American songwriting legend, has died at the age of 73. Prine’s death on Tuesday follows his hospitalization in late March with “COVID-19 symptoms.” Prine’s death was confirmed by his family to Rolling Stone.
Born in Maywood, Illinois on October 10th, 1946, Prine began playing guitar at a young age. After a stint in the U.S. armed services and a spell as a mail carrier, Prine moved to Chicago in the late 1960s where he was discovered by Kris Kristofferson. His 1971 self-titled debut album received widespread critical acclaim and prompted him to focus on a career in music. It contains some of his most well-loved songs, from “Sam Stone” to “Spanish Pipedream” to “Paradise” to “Hello In There” to “Angel From Montgomery”.
John Prine – John Prine (1971)
Eventually, Prine made his way to Nashville and adopted the city as his home, becoming an integral figure in the city’s music culture. Along with the gravelly singing voice he developed after a battle with squamous cell cancer in 1998, Prine is known for writing songs that take a stark look at every angle of the American experience through poetic and often humorous stories about the elderly, the lonely, the addicted, the ailing, the environment, and beyond. His thoroughly “human” lyrics have earned him widespread praise as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation.
The two-time Grammy winner and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee also enjoyed a late-career revival in 2018 with the release of his final full-length album, The Tree of Forgiveness. The album, which was produced by Dave Cobb and featured guest appearances by Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Dan Auerbach, and Brandi Carlile, went on the become the highest-charting album of his career.
We will have much more to say about John Prine in the coming days. For now, we just wish to say thank you for all that you and your music gave to the world. You’ve given us more blessings than one man can stand. Rest east easy, John.
John Prine – “When I Get To Heaven” (Live)
You can read a collection of tributes to the late John Prine by his fellow artists here.