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John Prine

An acclaimed singer/songwriter whose literate work flirted with everything from acoustic folk to rockabilly to straight-ahead country, John Prine was born October 10, 1946, in Maywood, IL. Raised by parents firmly rooted in their rural Kentucky background, at age 14 Prine began learning to play the guitar from his older brother while taking inspiration from his grandfather, who had played with Merle Travis. After a two-year tenure in the U.S. Army, Prine became a fixture on the Chicago folk music scene in the late '60s, befriending another young performer named Steve Goodman.

Prine's compositions caught the ear of Kris Kristofferson, who was instrumental in helping him win a recording contract. In 1971, he went to Memphis to record his eponymously titled debut album; though not a commercial success, songs like "Sam Stone," the harsh tale of a drug-addled Vietnam veteran, won critical approval. Neither 1972's Diamonds in the Rough nor 1973's Sweet Revenge fared any better on the charts, but Prine's work won great renown among his fellow performers; the Everly Brothers covered his song "Paradise," while both Bette Midler and Joan Baez offered renditions of "Hello in There."

For 1975's Common Sense, Prine turned to producer Steve Cropper, the highly influential house guitarist for the Stax label; while the album's sound shocked the folk community with its reliance on husky vocals and booming drums, it served notice that Prine was not an artist whose work could be pigeonholed, and was his only LP to reach the U.S. Top 100. Steve Goodman took over the reins for 1978's folky Bruised Orange, but on 1979's Pink Cadillac, Prine took another left turn and recorded an electric rockabilly workout produced at Sun Studios by the label's legendary founder, Sam Phillips, and his son Knox.

Following 1980's Storm Windows, Prine was dropped by Asylum Records, and he responded by forming his own label, Oh Boy Records, with the help of longtime manager Al Bunetta. The label's first release was 1984's Aimless Love, and under his own imprint Prine's music thrived, as 1986's country-flavored German Afternoons earned a Grammy nomination in the Contemporary Folk category. After 1988's John Prine Live, he released 1991's Grammy-winning The Missing Years; co-produced by Howie Epstein of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, the album featured guest appearances from Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt, and Tom Petty and proved to be Prine's biggest commercial success to date, selling nearly 250,000 copies. After making his film debut in 1992's John Mellencamp-directed Falling from Grace, Prine returned in 1995 with Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings, also produced by Epstein, which earned him another Grammy nomination.

In 1998, while Prine was working on an album of male/female country duets, he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, with the cancer forming on the right side of his neck. Prine underwent surgery and radiation treatment for the cancer, and in 1999 was well enough to complete the album, which was released as In Spite of Ourselves and featured contributions from Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Connie Smith, and more. In 2000, Prine re-recorded 15 of his best-known songs (partly to give his voice a workout following his treatment, but primarily so Oh Boy would own recordings of his earlier hits) for an album called Souvenirs, originally issued in Germany but later released in the United States. In 2005, he released Fair & Square, a collection of new songs, followed by a concert tour. Two years later, alongside singer and guitarist Mac Wiseman, Prine issued Standard Songs for Average People, a collection of the two musicians' interpretations of 14 folk and country classics. In Person & on Stage, a collection of performances from various concert tours, appeared in 2010. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Yes, he was a mail carrier in Illinois.
Is it true he was a mail delivery person at some point?
Been listening to JP for what seems like a very long time
He is a super songwriter and fun to listen to.
dwaz7
Yeah I too just recently 'found' this amazing Artist. Can't believe I overlooked him all theses 60 plus years.! Truly remarkable, clever, sensitive., insightful., , so many words needed to fully describe John.
Obviously his work says it all and more.!!!!
I have been a great fan of John Prine for many years & saw him at Red Rocks ampitheatre with Emmylou Harris on June1,2014!! ! Celebrating my 60th birthday!!! Needless to say, they were awesome & Red Rocks was incredible!! ! Could not have better!!!
Bruised Orange...I know the feelin.' I once had a bruise that turned orange, purple, green, and brown, though I can't say as it was that order, exactly.
Seen John 33 times in the last 35 years. Own everything he has ever written. Yeah you could say I am a fan.
I'm in my early 60's (Australian) and only recently discovered this incredible artist. I feel I have missed a lot not knowing of his work earlier.
kamehammon
Heart
His lyrics are insightful, revealing much abt being human
Never seen him in concert, never heard him a lot, till I just recently heard his song My old Kentucky Home funny how life works !!! What an awesome artist
I love Bruised Orange..the song "Thats the way the world goes around" is awesome!!!!
Seen him twenty times or more. Steve Goodman only once. Both my heros
I never knew that his records were so poorly recognized in the US charts. I also didn't realize how old the albums are that I love so much. I've seen him live a few times and my teeth are still not stained!!!

Live long and happily Mr. Prine.
My*
One of u fave artists out there
Thanks for doing what you do John.
Mr Prine is right up on top of it! He and Bobby should do one show or albumn!
Met him once in Shreveport. Nice guy. His music was from the gut.
beneamata
Heart of America singing with no pretense. Thanks John for tunes like this one.
Great singer/ love it
boogiespeed
a great 'unknown' talent -thru the ages

-coming from a guy 3 months older than you John.

Keep on keepin on.

And may you be bless with improving health always...
one of the best songs ever. bonnie does it without john john dies it without bonnie, they sing it together and all three versions are wonderful
love him and this duet withbonnie rait is great
williamscaso n v
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However If you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it works!
Hello in there !!
Cross Mark Twain with Shakespeare and put it to music...you got Prine." and dreamin' just comes natural, like the love hidden deep in your heart."
john is the best song writer and can back it what a great voice makes you want sit by a fire and listen to the stories try todd snider he has it going too peace love mmlzzz
Listening to John inspired me to pick up a guitar and learn to play a few years ago. This is real music for real people. Thanks for the inspiration.
JP is great if you don't know him ,give him a listen
I'm a rocker, but J.P. reaches my soul.
Never knew of him 2013 ! Like him a lot!!!!
GREAT STORYTELLER!

MARK
klsd26
Angel from Montgomery
Literate but simple...and I think he wrote the best folk song ever: Eagle from Montgomery. It's great to see him reemerge
College would not have been the same without a John Prine song playing on the stereo. The art of storytelling via music is becoming extinct. Long live John and all the storytellers ! !
I always see his lyrics and feel his melodies. I grew up with his songs and cold beer. He's a brother I've never had the pleasure of meeting.
John Prine Sings life what other singer song writer has stayed so true to his core. Seem him live many times even sat in a camp ground around a warm fire and listened to him and Arlo and a few others in Key West Fl. now that was a night to remember.
beckertjones
I have seen him live twice. No one is more professional on stage. You certainly feel his respect for his audience/fan s . Looking forward to seeing him again soon. If you have a chance to see him live go. His recordings are wonderful but he is even better in person.
amazing how Prine can make you smile and break your heart at the same time.
Also find Kris Kristofferso n ' s version, from the 1981 Austin City Limits recording. Didn't even know it was a Prine song for the longest time.
I grew up listening to John Prine. I consider him a true poet and philosopher. Thank you JP- Max In NC
Saw him at the Treasure Island music festival on the beach in FL a few years back. He lives part time in Gulfport across the way. Great show.
sloman51nant u c k e t
Want invite him to stay with Roxy and slo for weekend on Nantucket
why do I doubt that Madonna wrote this song!?!... :-)
Have seen many of his Shows. Loved him with Iris :)
Anybody that could write 'Hello in there' cain't be all that bad!
bgwilson1977
Goodness knows he's one of a select few artists that can reach the hearts and minds of the common working folks, Hank & Woody come to mind.
John's music, I don't know John personaly, is all about that galldang twist that spins reallity around inside genious, dang I wasn't gonna use the "g" word, and flavors up life for all us participants . Thanks Mr Prine.
I always feel like John Prine has been reading my mail, if you get my drift. His songs speak the truth of life and love. Not always beer and buttercups, but you can't help but grin at all of it.
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