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Beloved Grammy Award-Winning Singer-Songwriter John Prine Dies At 73

Collage of images of the late John Prine
Courtesy of Tom Hill/Top Middle B/W - Danny Clinch/Bottom Left - Erik Thompson/Bottom Right
John Prine

One of WNCW's all time favorite artists, John Prine has passed away from complications due to coronavirus. He tested positive March 17, and died 22 days later on Tuesday, April 7.

We've been playing his music since we first went on the air, and you can be sure we'll keep playing his music, especially today, Wednesday April 8, 2020. Our listeners have voted him into our Top 100 many, many times. Here's a few you might remember:

1991 - #7 - The Missing Years

1995 - #2 - Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings

1999 - #16 - John Prine Live On Tour

2005 - #6 - Fair And Square

2007 - #39 - John Prine & Mac Wiseman - Standard Songs For Average People

2010 - #17 - In Person And On Stage

2011 - #31 - The Singing Mailman Delivers

2016 - #11 - For Better, For Worse

2018 - #1 - Tree of Forgiveness

These are the lyrics from one of the amazing songs from his last album Tree of Forgiveness 

When I Get to Heaven By John Prine


When I get to heaven, I'm gonna shake God's hand
Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand
Then I'm gonna get a guitar and start a rock-n-roll band
Check into a swell hotel; ain't the afterlife grand?
And then I'm gonna get a cocktail: vodka and ginger ale
Yeah, I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long
I'm gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl
'Cause this old man is goin' to town
Then as God as my witness, I'm gettin' back into showbusiness
I'm gonna open up a nightclub called "The Tree of Forgiveness"
And forgive everybody ever done me any harm
Well, I might even invite a few choice critics, those syph'litic parasitics
Buy 'em a pint of [?] and smother 'em with my charm
'Cause then I'm gonna get a cocktail: vodka and…

More on John Prine:

Rolling Stone Magazine on John Prine

Billboard Magazine on John Prine

The Seattle Times on John Prine

The Guardian on John Prine

John Prine was also a favorite of Johnny Cash who described him as one of his personal “big four” songwriters alongside Guy Clark, Steve Goodman and Rodney Crowell.

Movie critic Roger Ebert liked him too. He once left a movie theater in Chicago in 1970 because the popcorn was too salty. He wandered into a folk club looking for a brewski and saw a mailman singing songs... John Prine. Ebert was so moved by the performance he wrote a review about it. Salty popcorn changed the course of John Prine's career. Here's a copy of that review:

Roger Ebert John Prine Review in Chicago-Sun Times Oct. 1970

Rest easy John Prine. We know you're kissin' that girl on the tilt-a-whirl, opening up a new club, and smokin' a ciggie that's nine miles long. 


Image of John Prine Singing at MerleFest 2006 in Wilkesboro, NC
Credit Ron Baker
John Prine at MerleFest 2006 in Wilkesboro, NC