John Prine was an American country music singer and songwriter. John Prine is among the many celebrities and high profile individuals that have died due to complications of COVID-19. Prine was hospitalized and intubated last month after the sudden onset of Coronavirus symptoms.
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Update: Thank you everyone for all the well wishes- everything went well with the hip surgery and I just need to rest up a little more before I can get back to doing what I love- playing shows! For those who have purchased tickets to any of the affected shows, the venue will have more specific information. Looking forward to being back on the road at Merle Fest on April 26th. Head to official FB page for more information.
John Prine was born on October 10, 1946, in Maywood, Illinois, to William Mason Prine and Verna Valentine (Hamm). Prine was raised by parents firmly rooted in their rural Kentucky background, and at the age of 14 years, he began to play the guitar from his older brother while taking inspiration from his grandfather, who had played with Merle Travis. Prine attended classes at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, and proviso East High school in Maywood, Illinois. He became a mailman for five years and served in the United States Army during the Vietnam era serving in Germany before beginning his musical career in Chicago.
At the time of his death, John Prine was 73 years of age.
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I played Willie's first Dripping Springs Reunion back in 1973. It was the fourth of July, and I was 27 years old, and what a ball I had … people were thinking about Woodstock and stuff, and it was the first show where it was a bunch of hippies and a bunch of rednecks, and they were all drinking beer and getting along. And it was all because of Willie. It was hot as the devil that day, and that night, I get a phone call. They say, 'Willie's having a party up in his room.' So I go on up to the party. I walk in the door to Willie's suite, and sitting on this one sofa was Waylon (Jennings), Leon Russell, Tom T. Hall, Doug Sahm. I'd give anything to have that sofa today, man, I'll tell you. #repost @anthonymasoncbs ・・・ “I’ve Just Destroyed The World (I’m Living In)”- @John_Prine playing #WillieNelson at the #Americana tribute to Willie at @theTroubadour in #LA last night @willienelsonofficial @americanafest
After spending two years 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 composition caught the ear of Kris Kristofferson, who was instrumental in helping Prine win a recording contract. In the 1970s, Prine went to Memphis to record his eponymously titled debut album, which did not achieve commercial success, songs like “Sam Stone,” the harsh tale of a drug-addled Vietnam veteran, won critical approval. The subsequent song’s ‘Diamonds in the Rough’ and ‘Sweet Revenge’ in 1972 and 1973 respectively did not fare any better in the charts. However, his work was acknowledged by his fellow performers with the Everly Brothers covering his song ‘Paradise,’ while both Bettle Midler and Joan Baez offered renditions of ‘Hello in There.”
The 1980s saw Prine release an album known as “Storm Windows” and his record label Asylum records subsequently dropped him. He responded by forming his label, Oh Boy Records, with the help of his longtime manager Al Bunetta. The label would then release its first song in 1984 Aimless love, and under his own imprint, the label thrived. The label received acclaim in 1986 when the 1986 country-flavored ‘German Afternoons” earned a Grammy nomination in the Contemporary Folk category. John Prine later released the award-winning “The missing years” that was 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.
In the 90s, Prine made a film debut in the 1992 John Mellencamp directed Falling from Grace. However, Prine returned to the music scene with Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings, produced by Epstein, which earned him another Grammy nomination. Prine was then diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma with cancer forming on his right side of his neck. Prine underwent surgery, and he proceeded to work on his pending album.
In the 2000s, Prine released the Fair & Square album, which was a collection of new songs, followed by a concert tour. The album won the grammy award in the Best Contemporary Folk Album. Prine would proceed to release other albums that received positive reviews such as “The Tree of Forgiveness,” which featured guest artists such as Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires, Dan Auerbach, and Brandi Carlile. Prine also released the track “Summer’s End,” with the album becoming Prine’s highest-charting album on the Billboard 200.
Some of John Prine’s song include’ Sam stones’
Prine was married two times to Ann Carole Menaloscino and Musician Rachel Peer, which all ended in divorce. He once commented, “Divorces have a way of turning into memorable songs for me,” In 1993, he married Fiona Whelan, who became his manager. They had two sons Tommy and Jack, and a stepson Jody Whelan adopted from a previous relationship.
In addition to his wife and children, Mr. Prine is survived by his two brothers and three grandchildren.
On March 19, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Prine’s wife Fiona revealed that she had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and had been quarantined in her home apart from him. John was also tested with the results coming back indeterminate. While they took measures to protect John from catching the virus, which is serious to those who are older or with compromised health conditions, John was hospitalized on March 26 after experiencing symptoms. He was intubated on the evening of March 28th in critical condition. Fiona later tweeted on 30th March that she had recovered and that John was in stable condition but not improving. On 3rd April, she announced that he was on his eighth day in ICU and that he was still on a ventilator and needed quite a bit of help with his breathing. He had pneumonia in both lungs and had also developed some peripheral issues that were being treated with medications, including antibiotics. John Prine died on April 7, 2020.
An update made on his official twitter account gave the severity of his illness. “This is hard news us to share. But so many of you have loved and supported John over the years, we wanted to let you know, and give you the chance to send on more of that love and support now. And know that we love you and John Loves you”
An update on John pic.twitter.com/fPQbv0tLyB
— John Prine (@JohnPrineMusic) March 29, 2020