NASHVILLE, Tennessee, April 7, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — American music legend John Prine died Tuesday at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.
Prine was hospitalized with COVID-19 on March 26 and was put on a ventilator two days later, his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, told social media followers on April 2. Her heart-breaking, yet hopeful Facebook post concluded with:
“On behalf of me and our boys — Jody Jack and Tommy — please know that we are keeping you all in our hearts with a prayer that you stay safe and healthy. Please continue to send Love, Prayers and Positive Energy to John. He needs us now more than ever. John loves you and I love you too.”
The iconic singer-songwriter was 73 years old.
Born in the Chicago suburb of Maywood, young Prine began playing the guitar at age 14 and went on to study at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Chicago’s North Side.
Prine’s musical career began when he moved to Chicago after serving in the U.S. Army in West Germany during the Vietnam War. While working as a mailman in the late 1960s, he wrote songs and started appearing at open-mic nights at The Fifth Peg, a local folk club on Armitage Avenue, which eventually led to his performing at various clubs in Chicago.
Roger Ebert caught Prine performing his original songs at The Fifth Peg and lauded his talents in an Oct. 9, 1970, review for the Chicago Sun-Times. Prine’s career took off.
He was an inspiration to other singers and musicians, and his songs have been covered by such artists as Johnny Cash, Bette Midler, and Bonnie Raitt.
“He’s an uncredited co-writer on the now-classic ‘You Never Even Call Me by My Name’ and his songs have been cut by country stars like Zac Brown Band (‘All the Best’), Miranda Lambert (‘That’s the Way the World Goes Round’) and George Strait (‘I Just Want to Dance with You’),” according to the John Prine website.
He was nominated for a Grammy 11 times and won twice, for his 1991 album “The Missing Years,” and “Fair & Square” in 2005.
In 2003, Prine joined the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2017 he was named Artist of the Year by the Americana Music Association.