For five decades, John Prine wrote rich, plain-spoken songs that chronicled the lives of everyday American people and the struggles that they faced throughout time, but sadly, his time came on Tuesday when he passed away at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was 73.
Known for his ability to transform ordinary experiences into artful musical works, the Illinois native was admired by Bob Dylan, Kris Kristofferson, and others. “Hello in There,” showed the devastating loneliness of an elderly couple; “Sam Stone,” painted a portrait of a drug-addicted Vietnam soldier suffering from PTSD; and “Paradise,” was created as an ode to his parents’ strip-mined hometown of Paradise that eventually became an environmental anthem.
His accolades include being an author, actor, record-label owner, two-time Grammy winner, a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and the recipient of the 2016 PEN New England Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence Award (an honor previously given to Leonard Cohen and Chuck Berry) in addition to being considered one of, if not the best, folk artists to ever grace the American music scene.
Unfortunately, Prine contracted the COVID-19 virus soon after his wife did following a tour of Europe. The legend was placed in intensive care for 13 days before passing on Tuesday. He will be missed by many, but his music will live on for generations.
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Photo: Yellowstone National Park/Public Domain