John Prine was an American country folk singer-songwriter. He was known for humorous lyrics about love, life, and current events. His signature songs include “Illegal Smile,” “Paradise,” and “Angel from Montgomery” He died in New York City on November 14, 2013.
About John Prine in brief
John Prine was an American country folk singer-songwriter. Born and raised in Maywood, Illinois, Prine learned to play the guitar at the age of 14. After serving in West Germany with the U.S. Army, he returned to Chicago in the late 1960s, where he worked as a mailman, writing and singing songs first as a hobby, and then becoming a club performer. Prine credited film critic Roger Ebert and Kris Kristofferson with discovering him, resulting in the production of Prine’s eponymous debut album with Atlantic Records in 1971. In 2020, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. He was known for humorous lyrics about love, life, and current events, as well as serious songs with social commentary and songs that recollect melancholy tales from his life. His signature songs include “Illegal Smile,” “Paradise,” and “Angel from Montgomery,” which he recorded with Jerry Wexler, who signed Prine to Atlantic Records the next day. He died in New York City on November 14, 2013. He is survived by his wife, two daughters, and a son. He had a daughter, Tanya, who is now a recording artist and a mother-of-two. He also had a son, John Jr., who is an actor and has appeared in a number of films, including “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Godfather,” and a grandson, John III, who has appeared on “American Idol” The son of William Mason Prine, a tool-and-die maker, and Verna Valentine, a homemaker, both from Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.
He attended classes at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, and Proviso Township High School in May Wood, Illinois. He began singing his songs at open-microphone evenings at the Fifth Peg on Armitage Avenue in Chicago. In 1971, he was offered a one-album deal of covers and with a few of his original songs, by Bob Koester from Delmark Records, but decided the project was not right for him. In 1981, he co-founded Oh Boy Records, an independent record label with which he would release most of his subsequent albums. He became a central figure in the Chicago folk revival, which also included such singers-songwriters as Steve Goodman, Michael Peter Smith, Bonnie Koloc, Jim Post, Tom Dundee, Anne Hills, and Fred Holstein. He performed frequently at a variety of Chicago clubs, including Jethro Burns and Bob Gibson, and later at the Earl of the Earl. He recorded three more albums for Atlantic Records, then signed with Asylum Records, and released an additional three albums. His first solo album was released in 1971 and featured songs that became folk standards, such as “Angel From Montgomery,” “Legal Smile”, and “Parade of the Stone” The next day, he signed with Atlantic and released his first album, “The Other Side of the Moon”