Remembering The Great John Prine On The 3-Year Anniversary Of His Passing

John Prine country music

“When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
Let my soul roll on up to Rochester dam
I’ll be halfway to Heaven with Paradise waitin’
Just five miles away from wherever I am…”

-”Paradise” by John Prine (1971)

It’s been three years since the legendary John Prine passed away at 73 years old on April 7, 2020, but his legacy continues to live on through his timeless music and the music of countless artists he has influenced.

Growing up just outside of Chicago, Prine was an integral figure in the city’s folk revival scene of the 1960s, working as a mailman as he honed his songwriting craft. Through his involvement in the local scene, he caught the attention of some of the industry’s greats, including Kris Kristofferson, and kickstarter his lengthy and accomplished career.

Throughout his career he would go on to release 18 full-length albums, beginning with one of the most flawless debut albums of all time in 1971, the self-titled John Prine released via Atlantic Records, and ending with The Tree of Forgiveness on his own record label Oh Boy Records 47 years later in 2018.

Known as one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Prine’s deep catalog and unique songwriting style, highlighted by masterfully crafted lyricism and an uncanny knack for humor and storytelling, influenced many of his contemporaries and a countless number of artists who have followed in his footsteps since. In fact, country music great Johnny Cash even cited Prine as an influence and as one of his top songwriters ever.

On the third anniversary of his passing, several of those artists, including Prine’s own son Tommy, took to social media to remember the man that meant so much to them as a musician, inspiration, mentor, friend, and father.

“3 years today we lost you, and it feels pretty raw still. I’m reminded of you in the small moments between, in the noise of big life events, and the times when things are all too quiet.

As I walk this path that you once did, I find that the questions I’d ask you are answered in time- and that’s exactly what you would tell me. I love you and I miss you, those things will never change. We’re doin alright”

Kelsey Waldon shared:

“”I am bursting with pride to have Kelsey Waldon recording for Oh Boy Records. Her music continues an important arc of traditional folk & country music. I love Kelsey’s singing, her voice is one of the more authentic country voices I’ve heard in a long time. I’m looking forward to all the shows we’ll be performing this year. – John Prine

3 years ago today we lost him. It’s still so surreal. I don’t care a lot about opinions and I think the world is full of terrible ones, but I took this one to heart.

He believed in me. I miss him. I am so thankful. We are continuing what you started. We will keep shining a light.”

Emily Scott Robinson added:

“3 years since we lost the great John Prine — wearing my favorite shirt and listening to Lake Marie with the windows down. John sure made this world a better place to live.

And I am so wildly grateful that he started Oh Boy Records and I have the privilege of being supported as a musician by what John built.

If you also loved John, consider donating to Say Hello in There to support some beautiful causes that continue to make this world a better place to live.”

Prine’s wife, Fiona, shared some thoughts as well.

“1095 days. What a gift it was to see my love for you reflected back at me, in your eyes and in your smile. We were never lonely.

I miss you John, more than I ever thought it possible to miss someone. I will remember everything about us for the rest of my days.”

If you’ve never taken the time to dive into Prine’s music, then I highly suggest you do. It’s never too late.

Here are some of his most popular tracks released throughout his storied career.

“Paradise” – John Prine (1971)

“That’s the Way that the World Goes ‘Round” – Bruised Orange (1978)

“Sam Stone” – John Prine (1971)

“In Spite of Ourselves” ft. Iris DeMent – In Spite of Ourselves (1999)

“Angel from Montgomery” – John Prine (1971)

“Sweet Revenge” – Sweet Revenge (1973)

“Summer’s End” – The Tree of Forgiveness (2018)

Don’t stop with these, if you like what you heard, Prine’s entire catalog is a goldmine just waiting there for you.

And I also encourage you to check out the music his son Tommy is making. Tommy does an incredible job carrying on the Prine tradition while blazing a trail of his own.

While he is undoubtedly his own artist with a bright future ahead of him, he seems to be cut from the same songwriting cloth as his father. And that’s quite the songwriter to be compared to.

In remembering John Prine today and every day, here is Tommy’s ode to his father.

“Takes time to know when you’re wrong
Takes even longer to put it all in a song
And I wish it was easy too like he did
When I’m by peaceful waters, it gets harder and harder
I’d do anything just to talk to my father
But I guess he was leaving soon, as we do
Yeah, I guess he was passing through, and I am too…”

-“Ships in the Harbor” by Tommy Prine (2022)

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock