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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
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


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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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Love this wonderful man.
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Saw John two nights ago at the Warfield in SF. The guy is a master! Warmth, humor, compassion.. . and gorgeous arrangements played masterfully by he and the band. And then, he sang solo for awhile, which made room for greater spontaneity, give-and-tak e with the audience, and laughs. A jewel!
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SOME HUMANS AIN't HUMAN, John PRINE . I set up this station because I wanted to hear more of HIS music especially.. s o far only 3 or 4 counting this one. Like Hello in There, for one. Surely there is more
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you fed my soul today. thank you.
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That's the way that the world goes round that's my favorite
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I'm starting to recognize his voice. I'll bet he will fill one of those empty shoes!
I come from the Old crowd and I always stop to see who is sining when one of his tunes come on.
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Sam Stone finally came home, thanks John.
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I don't think it would be the first half and was a little bit of a lot of the day of the most important and e a lot to me to get the same as it has to be able to see my mom is the so glad that my dad and brother my life right about every time you see the same time the first half and hour of my favorite thing to do it all in one of those things that you can be a great way to go
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I'm so happy to see my mom and my dad just called the most beautiful and the other rest of my friends to the game with a new song on this one was a good tday I have a lot more to come back in time and to get everything is a in my room is a you in u u a in a irow i
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I'm at the a lot more to do that in to the point of of view and the rest is a very nice to be able too see my friends to be able too see my baby sister is the easiest thing to be able too see my the first place I have no idea why the the first place I have no clue who I want you in the world and the a lot more to do go on my iPhone to my friends to be the same as I am so glad you are a lot of people are so much fun with it my turn to get the same as a whole bunch the best thing ever when the sun
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Love. I have to do that to of a good time waster for me w I have to go home and watch it with my mom and my mom said that it was the only way you to know each other for me I was in my head hurts so bad I for one day and the rest is history is not to get my money to the game and with the right time to be the a team to the gym with me to get my money to the gym with my life I live on my iPhone to my friends to be the same as I am so glad you
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Saw John in concert last night in Raleigh. The man is an accomplished musician and a poet as a song writer.
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Fair & Square is a great album
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Saw johathon edwards; jerry jeff; john prine great show in 1977
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God BLESS Mr.PRINE, HIS FAMILY & FANS !!! MY AUNT GAVE ME MY 1st NittyGrittyD i r t B a n d " W i l l T h e C i r c l e B e U n b r o k e n " cassette. That's my 1st awareness of John's great anointing. FINALLY GOT 2 SEE HIM & IRIS DEMENTE LIVE (-with my big brother, only a few rows from center stage) in Phoenix, '99. ABSOLUTE PRIVILEGE 4 ME. THEN GOT 2 SEE HIM & HIS SON IN "07 , PHOENIX A-GAIN. WHAT BLESSINGS 2 SOAK UP SUCH TRUE TALENT. I'VE HAD IN SPITE OF OURSELVES THRU 2 WIVES, & A FEW GIRLFRIENDS IN-BETWEEN. STILL MARRIED
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John prime is the greatest.
We saw him I think it was 2000 in
Lincoln Ne.for the release of inspire
Of ourselves.
JOHN please know that Sam Stone
Saved my life.
Love and respect
Larry Burns
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Going to see JP Saturday in Minneapolis! Can't wait!
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Other Side of Town: Where, on the other side of town, are you? I'm at home freaking sick with the stomach like you would not believe. I'm lucky enough to be on here at the moment. :-)
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love John Prine. His music feels like home.
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John Prine seems to be having a ball... I want to be just like him ;-)
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I have loved John Prine since my first introduction in the very early 70s. " Take the Star out of the window" My feelings exactly at the time. God Bless all that Serve!
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Brother letter carrier, thx for your thoughtful observations on the nature of human relations
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Always liked him
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So much buried pain in his song , they say In order to be truly funny one had to suffer greatly .
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I heard the same radio show and John Prine about the same time. Some of my Life's favorite songs are from John.
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I first heard John Prine in about 1974 or '75 on Dr Demento's radio show out of Little Rock, Arkansas and I've loved him ever since. It's simple music and catchy; you have to sing along. I've seen many a show in my 56 years and John Prine is one I'd go to over and again! Favorite song? Tough question, but The Accident is right up there!
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I got to listen to and meet John Prine in a little bar south of Breckenridge Colorado in 1973. His music sounded like something an old poet / sage would come up with, coming from a young man! His music still has the same effect on me now as it did in 73.
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Been listening to JP for many years great songwriter from one mailman to one former mailman love the music .Keep Rocking!
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John is a genius of simplicity. I don't know how I'd missed him for so long but I am now grateful to have his music in my life. Utterly amazing music.
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