Pandemic Playlist: Our Top 5 evergreen John Prine songs that will uplift you amid the coronavirus crisis
Hello again, dear friends, we trust you've been keeping well of late? We do hope you're all staying safe at home and taking every sanitizing precaution necessary during this deadly coronavirus outbreak. Sadly, the music world learned today that the COVID-19 virus claimed the life of the beloved folk music legend, John Prine. The abundantly talented Prine was revered for his amazing lyrics, humorous observations about humanity, and of course, his prodigious musical output — he released 18 studio albums alone during his time on Earth. His Grammy award-winning songs spoke to the very core of our souls and will be treasured by generations of music lovers worldwide. In order to keep your spirits afloat during this difficult time for our planet, here are our Top 5 John Prine songs that have touched the lives of millions of people, and will continue to nourish us with their warmth.
Pandemic Playlist: John Prine Edition
'Angel From Montgomery'
Prine often performed this hard-luck lament from 1971 on tour, and his live versions of the song with Americana music legend Bonnie Raitt are destined to live on forever in our collective consciousness. Rich in harmonies and appropriate lyrics like "Just give me one thing that I can hold on to / To believe in this living is just a hard way to go," their spellbinding rendition is the best song to fondly remember John Prine by during this coronavirus chaos. His collaborator Raitt said, "He’s a true folk singer in the best folk tradition, cutting right to the heart of things, as pure and simple as rain,” and we couldn't agree more.
Contrary to popular belief, Prine didn't write this 1971 classic about the escapist pleasures of smoking marijuana. He said, "It was more about how, ever since I was a child, I had this view of the world where I can find myself smiling at stuff nobody else was smiling at." With lyrics like "But fortunately I have the key to escape reality / And you may see me tonight with an illegal smile / It don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while," this optimistic hit might just bring a smile to your face in the midst of this terrible coronavirus crisis. It's also a tribute to Prine's freewheeling spirit and his unbridled mastery of the art of telling stories through the medium of song.
'In Spite Of Ourselves'
This 1999 ode to undying love is sure to provide some encouragement to anyone currently isolated at home, with or without their loved ones. Written with Prine's wife (at the time) Iris Dement in mind, this duet by the singing couple is both sugary sweet and wickedly funny. Iris said it took a lot of courage to sing some of the lines while it was being recorded, and we're really glad she eventually did because this song is gorgeous. It's chock-full of amazing imagery and lyrics like "In spite of ourselves we'll end up a-sittin' on a rainbow / Against all odds, honey we're the big door-prize / We're gonna spite our noses right off of our faces /There won't be nothin' but big ol' hearts dancin' in our eyes."
'Hello In There'
Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, times can sure get lonely, what with everyone practicing self-isolation and hermetically sealing themselves off at home. Prine wrote this 1971 heartbreaker about the onset of old age and loneliness, and it's hard not to relate to the lyrics as if they talk about our current COVID-19 climate. Lines like "And all the news just repeats itself / Like some forgotten dream that we've both seen" hit home hard, and the plight of old people (who are especially susceptible to coronavirus) takes center stage in the poignant song's lyrics throughout: "Old people just grow lonesome / Waiting for someone to say, 'Hello in there, hello.'" Make sure you call your grandparents today, folks.
'When I Get To Heaven'
This prescient 2018 ballad for what John planned to do in the afterlife showcased John Prine's best attributes. He always had a brilliant ear for a lovely melody, while his gravelly voice & innate ability to weave a homespun story via some delightful visual imagery remains unmatched. There are plenty of John Prine listening parties going on around the globe right now, and they will all definitely be playing this song as they bid goodbye to the folk music legend.
"When I get to heaven, I'm gonna shake God's hand / Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand / Then I'm gonna get a guitar and start a rock-n-roll band / Check into a swell hotel; ain't the afterlife grand?" We'll miss you, John Prine. We hope you get everything your heart desires in the afterlife, considering you've been an absolute treasure to us in this lifetime.
Pandemic Playlist is a daily list of songs that will keep you entertained instead of feeling drained while you're isolated at home. Look out for a fresh selection of great tunes from MEAWW to refresh your mood every day!