John Prine, Obituary, News, Music News

Legendary Singer-Songwriter John Prine Dies at 73

Legendary American country folk singer-songwriter John Prine died Tuesday, April 7, 2020 due to complications of COVID-19. He was 73.

On March 29, Prine's family revealed on his social media that he had tested postitive for coronavirus and was in the hospital in "critical condition."

Born and raised in the Maywood suburb of Chicago, Prine began his music career in the Chicago folk scene in the late 1960s. While working as a mailman, Prine wrote many of his early songs, such as "Donald and Lydia" and “Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore.” With the help of early fan singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson, Prine landed a record deal with Atlantic Records in 1971.

Prine released his self-titled debut album in 1971, which was just one of his many acclaimed solo albums. The album included classics such as "Illegal Smile," "Sam Stone," "Angel from Montgomery," and "Paradise." He went on to release 18 studio albums, 4 live albums, and 2 greatest hits compilations.

In 1998, more than two decades into his career, Prine was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer on his neck. Surgeons then had to remove the tumor as well as a piece of his neck, which altered his physical appearance and his voice. Prine returned to the stage roughly a year later.

Prine was widely recognized as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, inspiring artists from his own generation as well as the newer generations. He was also covered by the likes of Johnny Cash, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt, George Strait, and Miranda Lambert. In 2005, Prine became the first singer/songwriter to perform at the Library of Congress.

Prine was also an author, actor, record-label owner, two-time Grammy winner, and a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Most recently, Prine was honored at the 2020 Grammys where he received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Article image: John Prine performing on Oct. 2, 2009. (Eric Frommer [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr.)

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania