John Prine Dies at 73; Acclaimed Folksinger, Songwriter Created Classics of Lyricism and Storytelling

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tags: music, cultural history, coronavirus, Folk Music

Mr. Prine, the Maywood mailman who became a star of Chicago’s 1970s folk scene and one of the nation’s most treasured singer-songwriters — and who survived neck cancer in 1998 and a bout of lung cancer in 2013 — died Tuesday of complications of the coronavirus at 73, his family said.

He was hospitalized last month at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee....


His origin story was linked to Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert and singer-songwriters Paul Anka and Kris Kristofferson.

Ebert was said to have discovered the “singing mailman” when he ducked into the Fifth Peg nightclub. He teased out Mr. Prine’s story in a 1970 interview including his debut at the 1969 Maywood Folk Music Festival and a grandfather who “was a miner, a part-time preacher, and used to play guitar with Merle Travis and Ike Everly (the Everly brothers’ father).”

The following year, Mr. Prine performed at The Earl of Old Town for Anka and Kristofferson, who both arrived at the urging of Prine’s friend, folksinger Steve Goodman. “Within 24 hours,” the Sun-Times reported, “Prine was flown to New York, where he sat in with Kristofferson and Carly Simon at the Bitter End. Atlantic Records released his first album shortly thereafter.”

Read entire article at Chicago Sun-Times

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