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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, Illinois. 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, 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.

In 2016, Prine issued a follow-up to In Spite of Ourselves titled For Better, Or Worse, another set of duet performances of classic country tunes. This time around, Prine's vocal partners included Kacey Musgraves, Alison Krauss, Miranda Lambert, Susan Tedeschi, Lee Ann Womack, Kathy Mattea, and Prine's frequent collaborator Iris DeMent. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: In Person & On Stage

1. Spanish Pipedream (Live)

2. She Is My Everything (Live)

3. In Spite Of Ourselves (with Iris DeMent) (Live)

4. Long Monday (Live)

5. The Late John Garfield Blues (with Sara Watkins) (Live)

6. The Bottomless Lake (Live)

7. Bear Creek Blues (Live)

8. Saddle In The Rain (Live)

9. Angel From Montgomery (with Emmylou Harris) (Live)

10. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore (Live)

11. Mexican Home (with Josh Ritter) (Live)

12. Unwed Fathers (with Iris DeMent) (Live)

13. Glory Of True Love (Live)

14. Paradise (with Kane Welch Kaplin) (Live)


Track List: Fair & Square

1. Glory Of True Love

2. Crazy As A Loon

3. Long Monday

4. Taking A Walk

5. Some Humans Ain't Human

6. My Darlin' Hometown

7. Morning Train

8. The Moon Is Down

9. Clay Pigeons

10. She Is My Everything

11. I Hate It When That Happens To Me

12. Bear Creek Blues

13. Other Side Of Town (Live)

14. Safety Joe


Track List: Souvenirs

1. Souvenirs (2000)

2. Fish And Whistle (2000)

3. Far From Me (2000)

4. Angel From Montgomery (2000)

5. Donald & Lydia (2000)

6. Christmas In Prison (2000)

7. Storm Windows (2000)

8. Grandpa Was A Carpenter (2000)

9. The Late John Garfield Blues (2000)

10. Blue Umbrella (2000)

11. Six O'Clock News (2000)

12. People Puttin' People Down (2000)

13. Sam Stone (2000)

14. Please Don't Bury Me (2000)

15. Hello In There (2000)


Track List: In Spite Of Ourselves

1. (We're Not) The Jet Set

2. So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad)

3. Wedding Bells / Let's Turn Back The Years

4. When Two Worlds Collide

5. Milwaukee Here I Come

6. I Know One

7. It's A Cheating Situation

8. Back Street Affair

9. Loose Talk

10. Let's Invite Them Over

11. 'Til A Tear Becomes A Rose

12. In A Town This Size

13. We Could

14. We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds

15. In Spite Of Ourselves

16. Dear John (I Sent Your Saddle Home)


Track List: Lost Dogs + Mixed Blessings

1. New Train

2. Ain't Hurtin' Nobody

3. All The Way With You

4. We Are The Lonely

5. Lake Marie

6. Humidity Built The Snowman

7. Day Is Done

8. Quit Hollerin' At Me

9. Big Fat Love

10. Same Thing Happened To Me

11. This Love Is Real

12. Leave The Lights On

13. He Forgot That It Was Sunday

14. I Love You So Much It Hurts


Track List: The Missing Years

1. Picture Show

2. All The Best

3. The Sins Of Memphisto

4. Everybody Wants To Feel Like You

5. It's A Big Old Goofy World

6. I Want To Be With You Always

7. Daddy's Little Pumpkin

8. Take A Look At My Heart

9. Great Rain

10. Way Back Then

11. Unlonely

12. You Got Gold

13. Everything Is Cool

14. Jesus The Missing Years


Track List: John Prine Live

1. Come Back To Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard (Live)

2. Six O'Clock News (Live)

3. The Oldest Baby In The World (Live)

4. Angel From Montgomery (Feat. Bonnie Raitt) (Live 1985)

5. Grandpa Was A Carpenter (Live)

6. Blue Umbrella (Live)

7. Fish And Whistle (Live)

8. Sabu Visits The Twin Cities Alone (Live)

9. Living In The Future (Live)

10. Illegal Smile (Live)

11. Mexican Home (Live)

12. Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness (Live)

13. The Accident (Things Could Be Worse) (Live)

14. Sam Stone (Live)

15. Souvenirs (Live)

16. Aw Heck (Live)

17. Donald And Lydia (Live)

18. That's The Way That The World Goes 'round (Live)

19. Hello In There (Live)


Track List: Bruised Orange

1. Fish And Whistle

2. There She Goes

3. If You Don't Want My Love

4. That's The Way The World Goes 'round

5. Bruised Orange (Chain Of Sorrow)

6. Sabu Visits The Twin Cities Alone

7. Aw Heck

8. Crooked Piece Of Time

9. Iron Ore Betty

10. The Hobo Song


Track List: Prime Prine - The Best Of John Prine

1. Sam Stone

2. Saddle In The Rain

3. Please Don't Bury Me

4. The Great Compromise

5. Grandpa Was A Carpenter

6. Donald And Lydia

7. Illegal Smile

8. Sweet Revenge

9. Dear Abby

11. Come Back To Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard

12. Hello In There


Track List: Sweet Revenge

1. Sweet Revenge

2. Please Don't Bury Me

3. Christmas In Prison

4. Dear Abby

5. Blue Umbrella

6. Often Is A Word I Seldom Use

7. Onomatopoeia

8. Grandpa Was A Carpenter

9. The Accident (Things Could Be Worse)

10. Mexican Home

11. A Good Time

12. Nine Pound Hammer


Track List: Diamonds In The Rough

1. Everybody

2. The Torch Singer

3. Souvenirs

4. The Late John Garfield Blues

5. Sour Grapes

6. Billy The Bum

7. The Frying Pan

8. Yes I Guess They Oughta Name A Drink After You

9. Take The Star Out Of The Window

10. The Great Compromise

11. Clocks And Spoons

12. Rocky Mountain Time

13. Diamonds In The Rough


Track List: John Prine

1. Illegal Smile

2. Spanish Pipedream

3. Hello In There

4. Sam Stone

5. Paradise

6. Pretty Good

7. Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore

8. Far From Me

9. Angel From Montgomery

10. Quiet Man

11. Donald And Lydia

12. Six O'Clock News

13. Flashback Blues


Track List: Color Of The Blues (Feat. Susan Tedeschi) (Single)

1. Color Of The Blues (Feat. Susan Tedeschi)


Track List: For Better, Or Worse

1. Who's Gonna Take The Garbage Out (Feat. Iris Dement)

2. Storms Never Last (Feat. Lee Ann Womack)

3. Falling In Love Again (Feat. Allison Krauss)

4. Color Of The Blues (Feat. Susan Tedeschi)

5. I'm Tellin' You (Feat. Holly Williams)

6. Remember Me (When Candlelights Are Gleaming) [Feat. Kathy Mattea]

7. Look At Us (Feat. Morgane Stapleton)

8. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, And Loud, Loud Music (Feat. Amanda Shires)

9. Fifteen Years Ago (Feat. Lee Ann Womack)

10. Cold, Cold Heart (Feat. Miranda Lambert)

11. Dreaming My Dreams With You (Feat. Kathy Mattea)

12. Mental Cruelty (Feat. Kacey Musgraves)

13. Mr. & Mrs. Used To Be (Feat. Iris Dement)

14. My Happiness (Feat. Fiona Prine)

15. Just Waitin'


Track List: I'm Tellin' You (Feat. Holly Williams) (Single)

1. I'm Tellin' You (Feat. Holly Williams)


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John Prine is a vet too. He's got a right to say what he feels. And often it's what we feel but can't say it like he does. Loved this guy since before Vietnam was declared over.
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Damn Ty, I thought that's what I said. Just a bit nicer. I didn't start it! :)
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What a fantastic duet!! John Prine & Bonnie Raitt rule for sure.
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Play more prine please
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stephenbostw i c k
Just read this guy ejwtexan. I actually feel bad this guy. He's missing something here.
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My wife and I had the privlidge of seeing John this past summer at Wolftrap in northern Virginia. He was such a gentleman and worked so hard to provide great entertainmen t . People need to remember that he went through. He had neck cancer in the late 90's and was never supposed to be able to sing again. He went through lung cancer in 2013 and survived. He has never been political... b u t if he states a position occasionally who really cares. He writes music tha makes us smile.
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Leave John Prine OUT of your political bullshit. I'm here for music.
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Not even Atilla would vote for DT, but try coming after my gun. Don't mean I plan to shoot anyone. I just don't plan to hug a moonbeam when this house of cards does fall. Besides, there are a bunch of political rooms for this old debate. Prine still rules. No offense meant.
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It's been a long Monday...... I love this man.
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Ha ha good luck with yer gun crazy buddies. Maybe you like DT..he is republican and called you rapists, killers and thieves. That is not how I feel..Americ a is all about the beauty of diversity but hell I am one of them left wing fools who don't believe in hate or HUGE walls.
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I'm glad I don't have to agree with a person's politics, religion, or sexual orientation to like their music. These guys are artists, not saviors. I'm probably politically aligned with Atilla the Hun, but I love me some Prine, and Steve Earle too, The damn, liberal Democrats they are don't bother me one bit..
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Most artists stay away from politics. But John Prine and Steve Earle stepped into the political arena. They crossed that threshold. When artists get political, it does very little to help their political agenda, it just alienates half of their fan base. Guess what? Conservative s love Outlaw Country and buy record albums too. But if you go off the left-wing deep end...we'll quit buying your albums. Very stupid move guys!
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You're a complete moron ejwtexan.
Where is Muslim? ( everywhere, by the way)
All that needs to be done is the US government answer some extremely simple questions surrounding the event!
Don't go to a gun fight with a knife buddy, i'm quite sure that both John Prine and Steve Earle have a much more open mind than philistines such as you!
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Hey John Prine, if the 9/11 terrorist attacks had never happened, do you think that cowboy from Texas would've started that war in Iraq? Think about it. We didn't start the war John, the dirty savage Muslims started it. You idiot!
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John Prine is a dirty democrat that hates his own country.... just like Steve Earle. I used to be a big fan....but no longer. Hey John Prine, I lost six of my best friends during our tour in Iraq....yeah you know that war that you say was started by a cowboy from Texas. Why don't you and Steve Earle go live in beautiful Islamic France, if America sucks so much!
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How the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come in the evening and have nothing to say

One of the great couplets of all time
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Angelic tunrs
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My favorite artist of all time!!
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A true gift. I wish all music was this good
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Beautiful! This song has been done so many times but when John and Bonnie do it, it brings tears to my eyes.
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I wasn't familiar with really like his tone!
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Darned song makes me cry.
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I love the Americana artists!

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Having recently rediscovered JP, I saw him in concert in Clearwater not long ago. It was awesome. His voice fits his songs even better as he ages. He is also a very underrated guitar player. Don't miss him if you get the chance. You can tell he loves the music and the fans.
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That mando and those harmonie makes this an even better version of an already beautiful song. Love this version.
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John Prine rules!
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A tip of the hat to Mr. John Prine.....on e of the very best in every way.
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Hello in There: How true. J.PRINE is the only one that sings this song. Play it more plz.
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Truth in dem words
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Been listening since 1971 still sweet
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in the 80's jerry jeff / johnathan edwards / john prine those were the days peace out
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Met you years ago you were showcasing at the exit-In with Gail Davis Nashville been a ardent listener ever since....pla y i n for your health and continued success...
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Just discovered John . I am 62 years old. Life is full.of surprises! Will spend my life with his music. Thank you John Prine.
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Beautiful, inspiring and effortless!! ! Thank you for your gift!!!
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Listening to you Mr. Prine sounds like home.....jus t plain home.
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joel.watterw o r t h
Please include dates of recordings and personal...T h a n k s
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Despair made into poetry through fine voices.
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listening to hin since 1972 where does time go
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great song
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I just love his voice.
John PRINE you can sing to me any time.��
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Listening to John Prine for me is like talking with an old friend. A friend much smarter than me. :)
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best ever
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Farm Out!
Love this guy.
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His music just makes me happy!
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Truly one of the finest songwriters of our time. My first of many fortunate experiences at one of his shows was circa 1973 at a country roadhouse in south Louisiana. He was doing a benefit for NORML. Unforgettabl e !
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John Prine is the greatest ever.
His music is pure gold.
Oh by the way,did mention that "Sam Stone saved my life!!!!
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A friend of mine introduced me to John Prine's music, and I have enjoyed every piece , over and over again and again.
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Chritmas in prison by John. Prine
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