John Prine could write a song like no one else. Throughout his five-decade career, the folk icon proved himself to be one of a kind.
Prine’s lyrical stories were both fantastical and simple; he wrote with a Midwest-bred honesty and humor that kept listeners on their toes. His catalog, spread over 18 albums, contains vivid stories (“Lake Marie”), insightful looks at the human condition (“Hello in There”) and sweet love songs (“Aimless Love”).
Impressively, Prine was only in his mid-20s when he wrote song of his most beloved songs, from “Sam Stone” to “Angel From Montgomery.” He earned critical and industry acclaim, even if his work was not particularly commercially successful, and his songs were covered — and made into hits — by everyone from George Strait to Miranda Lambert, among many others.
These 13 Prine lyrics — largely pulled from his songs’ choruses — are some of his very best:
Prine died on April 7, at the age of 73, after contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in late March. He leaves behind his wife, Fiona, to whom he had been married for 24 years, as well as three sons, a daughter-in-law and grandchildren, along with a legion of adoring fans.
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