John Prine (1946-2020)
John Prine, known as “The Singing Mailman,” was one of the most influential songwriters of his generation. Bob Dylan called Prine’s music “pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree.”
John Prine was born in Maywood, IL and learned to play guitar at 14 from his brother Dave. He began making up songs in his head while delivering the mail. While appearing at the 5th Peg folk club in Chicago, he was discovered by film critic Roger Ebert who wrote a glowing review in a newspaper column, and singer/songwriter/actor Kris Kristofferson who helped him get a recording contract with Atlantic Records.
His wry sense of humor and endearingly offbeat perspective is evident in songs like “Dear Abby,” “Sam Stone,” “Hello in There,” “Paradise,” “Angel from Montgomery,” and “Illegal Smile.” “You Never Even Called Me By Name,” co-written with friend Steve Goodman, is a country classic.
John Prine won 5 Grammy awards and was nominated 9 times.
The music world suffered a major loss when Songwriters Hall of Fame member John Prine passed away in April, 2020 due to Covid-19.The Singing Mailman of Maywood, Illinois John actually composed many of his early songs while he was walking his mail route. He eventually got brave enough to try a few open mics as well as some gigs at the various Chicago folk music venues.
John became one of the top acts on the Chicago folk circuit and his 1971 debut album blew everyone away. After more than 20 albums and 50 years later, he was still packing the house wherever he played and still blowing everyone away.
Those who knew him spoke of a down to earth man, who was never negatively affected by fame, a rarity in the music business.