Yet another classic country singer passed away due to COVID-19. On April 7, it was announced that the beloved grammy-winning singer John Prine passed on after battling the virus for 13 days in intensive care.
According to Rolling Stone Magazine, Prine “Chronicled the struggles and stories of everyday working people and changed the face of modern American roots music.” Known for his folk-country classics, he wrote for over five decades.
Rolling Stone Magazine also dubbed Prine as “One of America’s greatest songwriters.” In an article naming his 25 best songs, they included “Angel from Montgomery” (1971), “Illegal Smile” (1971), “Spanish Pipedream” (1971), “Paradise” (1971) and “Sam Stone” (1971) as their top five picks.
My mom and dad have been playing Prine’s music over the Alexa in memory of him for the past two days. Her favorites include “Dear Abby,” “Please Don’t Bury Me” and “That’s the Way the World Goes Round.”
Known not only for his songs that humorously and sincerely described every day life, Prine was also loved for his kindness. In an article published by CNN, writer and teacher Michael P. Branch expresses the kindness Prine and his wife showed his family.
Branch’s daughter loved Prine with every fiber of her soon-to-be-11-year-old being. Branch sent Prine email after email describing that they were taking his daughter Caroline to Prine’s concert for her 11th birthday. This resulted in Prine taking the time out of his Reno concert to wish the sweet girl a happy birthday.
In the article, Branch also explains that the “simplicity and accessibility of Prine’s songs made them welcoming.” Because of this, Branch played many of Prine’s music for his daughters growing up, even making it a family tradition during Christmas time.
Similarly, my close family friend, Kenny Harriman, did the same for my siblings and I. Up in the mountains near our house, with the stars glistening and the fire crackling, the four of us sat entranced as we listened to Prine’s lyrics and music emanate from the guitar.
I have a distinct memory of stuffing my face with a gooey s’more and laughing as Harriman played “Dear Abby” for my family and I (the kid version of course). It’s this memory that I can’t help but associate with this classic country singer. Just like Branch and his daughters, I’m sure many other families can relate.
He not only included humor and dirty jokes into his songs, but reminded us all what it’s like to be human. Life can be as funny as it can be heart-breaking, and Prine captured this through his songs in the most memorable way.
To listen to Prine’s songs and experience this for yourself, click here.
Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos by: rollingstone.com