Happy 70th Birthday John Prine: 7 Standout Collaborations
Celebrated singer-songwriter John Prine celebrates his 70th birthday today. Born in 1946 and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Prine’s compositions are among the most witty, truthful, intelligent and poignant songs ever written. A storyteller, guitarist and poet, he just issued a new album of covers featuring duets with an impressive roster of female vocalists and continues to captivate audiences with his live performances.
In honor of John’s seven decades, here’s a look at seven times he’s collaborated live on stage with other musicians throughout his long career. The collection encompasses classic performances as well as recent appearances with contemporary artists who have been influenced by Prine’s revered work.
A dear friend and collaborator, the late Steve Goodman was an essential champion of Prine’s early career. The fellow Chicago-based singer-songwriter behind “City Of New Orleans” and others (that’s him you hear at Wrigley Field following Cubs’ wins) sadly died in 1984 at the age of just 36. Goodman appeared on Prine’s second album which included the track “Souvenirs” which the pair perform (followed by a solo Goodman clip) below:
Prine currently resides in Nashville – where today has been declared John Prine Day – and has befriended fellow residents and musicians Jason Isbell and his wife Amanda Shires. They’ve shared various stages together in recent years, including during the recent Americana Awards in their hometown last month. This video captured by markkriebaum from The Station Inn features the trio playing Prine’s “In Spite Of Ourselves”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT-sIRZSAUc
Prine also held a show earlier this year in Nashville at the Ryman Auditorium during which he was joined by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach. This clip via LJSimon comes from Prine’s March 12 show at the famed venue. Watch their performance of “That’s the Way the World Goes Round”:
Acclaimed rising country musician Sturgill Simpson sat with Prine for an interview as part of session for this year’s a Grammy Pro Songwriter Week at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. More on the event can be found here and below is a rendition of the two guitarist’s playing Prine’s song written for his father entitled “Paradise”:
My Morning Jacket was among those who contributed a track to the 2010 Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine tribute LP. Prine and MMJ frontman Jim James appeared together to perform “All The Best” on an episode of The Late Show With David Letterman, watch their duet here:
Perhaps Prine’s best-known song, and its best-known rendition, is “Angel From Montgomery” performed by Bonnie Raitt. Recorded for her 1974 Streetlights LP, the ballad quickly became a signature song of hers and has been covered by many other musicians. Prine and Raitt played the song together at Farm Aid in 1986, watch below:
Finally, the black and white footage below comes from the October 3, 2012 Love for Levon benefit concert held at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey celebrating the life of late The Band drummer Levon Helm. Prine, along with The Band’s Garth Hudson and house band featuring Don Was, Larry Campbell and others performed Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece.” View the collaboration here: