A singer and songwriter with a raspy voice and a gift for offbeat humor, he was revered by his peers, including Bob Dylan. He died of the coronavirus.
John Prine the great Song writer and Singer of all times, was born on Oct. 10, 1946, in Maywood. He was born in a working-class suburb of Chicago, to William and Verna (Hamm) Prine. The father of John Prine, was a tool-and-die maker at the American Can Company. His mother had moved from the coal town of Paradise, Ky., in the 1930s.
Mr. Prine was completely unknown in 1970 when Mr. Kristofferson heard him play one night at a Chicago club called the Earl of Old Town. He was dragged there by the singer and songwriter Steve Goodman. Mr. In those days Mr. Kristofferson was performing in Chicago at the time at the Quiet Knight. Mr. Prine treated him to a brief after-hours performance of material that, Mr. Kristofferson later wrote, “was unlike anything I’d heard before.”
Mr. Prine underwent cancer surgery in 1998 to remove a relatively minor tumor in his neck identified as squamous cell cancer. That tumor damaged his vocal cords. In 2013, he had part of one lung removed to treat lung cancer. He had been hospitalized since late last month.
“He was a true folk singer in the best folk tradition, cutting right to the heart of things, as pure and simple as rain,” Ms. Raitt told Rolling Stone in 1992.
Mr. Dylan, listing his favorite songwriters in a 2009 interview, put Mr. Prine front and center. “Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism,” he said in his review articles. “Midwestern mind trips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs.”
In December 2019, he was chosen to receive a 2020 Grammy for lifetime achievement.
As a songwriter, Mr. Prine was prolific and quick. In the early days, he would sometimes dash off a song while driving to a club.
“Sometimes, the best ones come together at the exact same time, and it takes about as long to write it as it does to sing it,” he told the poet Ted Kooser in an interview at the Library of Congress in 2005. “They come along like a dream or something, and you just got to hurry up and respond to it, because if you mess around, the song is liable to pass you by.”