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John Prine

Updated on February 6, 2010

John Prine is a Vet, songwriter, and Great American.

John Prine has been a prolific songwriter and performer since 1970. He was born on October 10, 1946 in MaywoodIllinois. His parents were William Prine and Verna Hamm. He was taught to play the guitar by his brother, David. This endeavor began at 14. John Prine served in the Army and was a postman for five years.  He was still delivering the mail in Maywood, Illinois when he began to sing at open-mic evenings at the Fith Peg. Prine was a spectator but responded to a dare from another performer- “You think you can do better?”

Prine was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer on the right side of his neck in early 1998. The diseased tissue was removed and he was left with a substantial loss of tissue. Six weeks of radiation therapy ensued. The surgery may have added a more "gravelly sound" to his voice. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for songwriting by BBC Radio 2 in 2003. That same year he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In Johnny Cash's autobiography Cash, he admitted "I don't listen to music much at the farm, unless I'm going into songwriting mode and looking for inspiration. Then I'll put on something by the writers I've admired and used for years (Rodney Crowell, John Prine, Guy Clark, and the late Steve Goodman are my Big Four)..."

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame says of Prine, “ he lives on that plane with Neil Young and Lennon.”

I could go on with endorsements for John Prine.

John Prine writes of Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abbey).

He writes of "Sam Stone," the Purple Heart soldier junkie daddy, and his death by overdose. "The most familiar refrain in the song is "There's a hole in daddy's arm, where all the money goes".

The song can be interpreted as a reference to the phenomenon of heroin addiction among Vietnam war veterans.

John Prine covers a broad spectrum including, Donald and Lydia," where people make love from ten miles away.

Steve Goodman

"You Never Even Called Me By My Name" is one of my favorite songs. I thought it was written exclusively by a great song writer who died of leukemia in 1984, Steve Goodman. It was written by Steve Goodman and John Prine. It’s a spoof of standard Country and western lyrics. It was very successfully done by David Allen Coe on his Once Upon a Rhyme album in 1974. Prine refused to take credit and the tune was credited solely to Goodman. Goodman showed his appreciation to Prine by buying him a jukebox as a gift from his publishing royalties.

Coe credited Steve Goodman for the song as Goodman added the last verse that made the song, indeed, the perfect Country & Western song. It now contained “mama, trains, trucks, prison and getting drunk”.

Another song that John Prine did so well by Steve Goodman was Souvenirs.

Steve Goodman was an outstanding songwriter and in good company.

Steve Goodman-The Perfect Country & Western Song

Steve Goodman

Some Other Albums By John Prine

Diamonds In The Rough

Sweet Revenge

German Afternoons

Bruised Orange

Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings

In Spite of Ourselves

Fair & Square

Best of John Prine

"Some" of John Prine's Epic Songs

Dear Abbey” “Hello In There”. I was a “Bad Boy”.

I might be “The Oldest Baby In The World”.

I’ve got “The Late John Garfield Blues”. Me and “Sam Stone” were the victim of “The Great Compromise”. We were “Down By The Side Of The Road” in our “Automobile” with an “Illegal Smile”. We were “Living In The Future” traveling at the “Speed Of The Sound Of Loneliness” on a “New Train". “Please Don’t Bury Me” at “Christmas In Prison”.

He Was In Heaven Before He Died”.

It was a “Spanish Pipedream” in “Paradise”. We were “Killing The Blues” with “Donald And Lydia” under a “Blue Umbrella” without “Storm Windows” near "Lake Marie".

.When the "Day Is Done" we "Ain't Hurtin' Nobody"

An “Angel From Montgomery” said “That’s The Way That The World Goes ‘Round”. “It’s Happening To You”. "Same Thing Happened to Me". "I Hate It When That Happens to Me".

All The Best” “Unwed Fathers” have “Common Sense” with “Aimless Love” while committing “The Sins Of Memphisto”.

Come Back To Us Barbara Lewis Hare Krishna Beauregard”. “It’s A Big Old Goofy World”. “Fish And Whistle” with a “Bruised Orange”.

There are always “People Puttin’ People Down”. "We Are the Lonely".

It might be “Sweet Revenge” to go "All the Way With You" while “Linda Goes To Mars” for “One Red Rose” and “Sabu Visits The Twin Cities Alone”. This "Big Fat Love", "This Love Is Real”.

"Leave the Lights On", "Humidity Built the Snowman". So "Quit Hollerin' at Me",

"He Forgot That It Was Sunday". It was a "Long Monday". He was "Crazy as a Loon". "Some Humans Ain't Human", "Taking a Walk" on the "Other Side of Town" in "My Darlin' Hometown" while "The Moon Is Down".

He left his “Saddle In The Rain” so she put him on a "Morning Train". "She Is My Everything". It’s "The Glory of True Love"

Yes I Guess They Oughta Name A Drink After You

John Prine- Fair & Square

I guess Fair & Square has to be my favorite. You absolutely have to have all of his work but this is my favorite.

"The Glory of True love" will get your feet moving. "Morning Train" will smooth you out. The whole album will rock you!

In Spite of Ourselves

Please Don't Bury Me

It's A Big old Goofy World

Johnny Cash- Sam Stone


Speed of the Sound of Loneliness

David Allen Coe-You Never Even Called Me By My Name

John Prine- Ain't Hurtin' Nobody

Let's Talk Dirty In Hawaiian


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

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    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Yo Tom!!! Yes Sir! Create that John Prine hub. It has to be great from your perspective! He's a treasure. Of course one of my favorite Prine albums is the "best of".

    • justom profile image


      8 years ago from 41042

      I'm doin' a hub about John and when I typed his name I found yours, nice job. I've seen him probably 10 times, the 1st being back in the early 70's. Kudos for being able to pick a favorite album, every time I try I just can't do it. I love all that is John Prine. In fact I just saw yesterday that he's coming back to my area on Dec.3 and as always I'm there. This guy evokes more emotion from me than I can even tell you but then I guess you know about that. Sweet songs never last too long on broken radios. Peace!! Tom ***If you have time check out my hubs about the music I've had the pleasure to experience.

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      You are still a mess Epigramman! You know I love your work Sir! God bless you EMAN!

    • epigramman profile image


      8 years ago

      first it was AL GREEN now John Prine - man you've got good tasteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

      To Sir Dee of Mickey - what good is a day without your hubs?

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      8 years ago

      Yo MFB- Seems I've been chasing or following you around the hubs. You beat me to so many! John Prine is the stuff! Try Fair & Square" for sure!

    • MFB III profile image

      Matthew Frederick Blowers III 

      8 years ago from United States

      Sounds like John's in his prime, I will have to check him out, I am a bit partial to the music of vets. Thanks for the heads up. so many choices in the music world and so little time. Gotta get back into the country

      MFB III

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Rope, I am so glad you are a fan. He is such a super person. His success in writing and the way he writes must reflect a lot of light. Thank you

    • The Rope profile image

      The Rope 

      9 years ago from SE US

      Terrific! I had no idea there was this much available about him. Thought I was one of the few who even knew he existed outside the music world. Thanks for pulling it all together in such a great way!

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Okey Dokey Hokey. Thank you so much for loving John Prine. I know you can't help it. Check out Steve Goodman up there too. Thanks

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Hi Maita. Thank you for coming by. I appreciate you. I'm not sure if I'm notified of your latest hubs- I better get over there. Thanks

    • Hokey profile image


      9 years ago from In the energy.

      John Prine is a GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      9 years ago from US

      Big Old Goofy world, I love that, nice feature for a man who deserve it, Thanks and how are you? Maita

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thanks Ken. You know what I'm talking about. John Prine is so well known among his peers and so many- yet he's maybe not so mainstream. He is one of the best song-writers in the world!

      50 Caliber Dude. You're hitting some nails on the head. CIA has been a drug pusher. In the "Clinton Chronicles" two kids are murdered. Their bodies are put on a rail-road track. They're covered with a tarp. This is Mena, Arkansas. The sheriff's department "covered up". The coroner "covered up, got a raise. Clinton was governor. When you tell this story, republicans jump all over it. The reason that the GOP didn't fully jump was that George Bush was vice under Reagan. He was still running "ops" with the CIA or "friends". Mena, Arkansas was part of the Iran/Contra affair. It tied in both political parties. Meanwhile "they" threw money and time at "Whitewater". They did all kinds of atrocities to Susan McDougal. They spent less money and time with 911.Those are other hubs. Will anybody read them?

      Thanks 50 Caliber.

      Ghost and UG -I'm tellin' mama on you! You guys!

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 

      9 years ago from Arizona


      you've done a fine job here.

      The statement "The song can be interpreted as a reference to the phenomenon of heroin addiction among Vietnam war veterans."

      It wasn't a "phenomenon", the CIA showing up on the tarmac and selling heroin every pay day was the phenomenon, but that part wasn't let out of the sack for what 20 years? after as to how they funded their operations to keep the U.S. out of knowing about them and what they were up to?

      Under the circumstances it was plain and easy to understand the troops quelling their anguish over what we were ordered to do and what we saw as a result. More hard liquor and beer deliveries probably would have kept us from the smoking of the hash and tar eventually melting it down and injecting it to gain a night of sleep. There were many who resisted and won that fight, I didn't, but after several years it came around again during my civilian years.

      I spent a lot of nights in So. Ca. sitting on a jute box drunk and singing along with David Allen Coe-You Never Even Called Me By My Name with a buddy of mine who lost his left leg to a bouncing Betty and I would pull out my knife and stab him in the leg. People in the bar would jump and holler, Larry would always say "come on man, your ruining my jeans". Ah,good times?

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 

      9 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Thanks for giving John Prine some press. I used to say his "Hello, In There" was the saddest song I ever heard, but then I heard "Marie" by Townes Van Zandt.

      Great Hub.

    • Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

      The IGNITER vs Corrupted Governments 

      9 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

      Okay Mickydee, you wont come out and play because you have to take a nappy poo, so I am going to stalk unchained grace for awhile. ;)

    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 

      9 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Mickey, I told my mommy we wuz hunting wabbits! Ghost, you can stalk me anytime ya like. You are not gonna believe my next Hub. I'm comin' out of a whole other thing with this one. Mick, Chester was emotionally traumatized when he walked in on Festus and Miss Kitty. Hadda leave Dodge City.

    • Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

      The IGNITER vs Corrupted Governments 

      9 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

      I love Mickydee! I am his certified stalker right Micky?? hehehe! I am a night owl so I am up go to bed and I will stalk you tomorrow okeey dokey? nite nite. hehhe

      Don't make me come to ya pages and stalk ya too unchained grace-cause I will...

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Ah UG- you and the Ghost are trips. You guys! Do your folks know you're up this late? Where is Chester?

    • Unchained Grace profile image

      Unchained Grace 

      9 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Ghost, you, too? Micky, we have us a real live stalker here.

      What in tarnation shall we do? Go get Marshal Dillon. I'll get Miss Kitty and I'll meet ya'll at the Long Branch. "Sumthins gotta be done 'bout this here Matthew. A feller could get real nervous gettin' stalkered at."

      John Prine. I've heard some of his material, though I can't drop song titles. Just remember hearing the introduction on radio stations. He said a lot. Meant it all.

    • Micky Dee profile imageAUTHOR

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      Thanks Ghost. It's 1AM. This hub took some time. I thought it might go a little faster. There are a lot of videos but there are a lot of poor quality videos for John Prine. It's hard to weed them out. I was disappointed that there seem to be none for the best album I can remember- Fair & Square. This album is protected well. As soon as I heard one song from the album (years ago now) I went out and bought the album. I expected a couple songs to hit me hard (in a good way). Fair & Square is so great! But I like his greatest hits (or Anthology) too. Dear Abby, Please Don't Bury Me, etc. Thanks for checking JP out. Now- bed!

    • Ghost Whisper 77 profile image

      The IGNITER vs Corrupted Governments 

      9 years ago from The U.S. Government protects Nazi War Criminals

      I aint hurting nobody...I aint hurting no one...I am jamming right now and as soon as I send this comment...I think my music is going to go! Love it Mickydee! Good hub!

      :) Your stalker hehehe


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