John Prine was a US folk and country singer beloved of Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson and many other artists. Prine passed away on Tuesday 7th April 2020 at the age of 73 due to complications from the coronavirus.
Prine was born and raised in Maywood, Illinois. He learned to play the guitar at the age of 14 and attended classes at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. After serving in West Germany with the U.S. Army, he moved to Chicago in the late 1960s, where he worked as a mailman, writing and singing songs as a hobby.
He would get his big break when Kris Kristofferson heard him in a Chicago club and became a big champion of his work. That led to the release of his self-titled debut album with Atlantic Records in 1971.
Prine would record and perform prolifically from then on until his death, including a surprise success with his most recent album, 2018’s The Tree of Forgiveness.
Following his death Robert Plant described Prine as “a beacon of clear white light cutting through the dark days. His charm, humour and irony we shall miss greatly”. Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea heralded “all those warm songs that cut their own path through a tangled world”.
Great John Prine Songs
Here are five of Prine’s best songs: