John Prine Through The Years: 1971-2020 Photos
From his humble beginnings to his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame - not to mention a nomination for the Rock Hall - Prine maintained a levelheaded sense of ease that endeared him to fans and fellow musicians alike.
There was an everyman presence in Prine, attributed to the unlikely nature of his stardom. After all, it was a chance encounter that gave the singer-songwriter his first break. When Prine, then a postman in Chicago, decided to perform at a local open-mic night, Roger Ebert happened to be in the crowd. Eschewing his normal film criticism, the writer penned a story about Prine, suddenly pushing the unknown singer into the spotlight.
A long and influential career unfolded from there, with Prine delivering 18 studio albums between 1971 and 2018. He won three Grammy Awards, while also earning a dedicated fan base during his multiple decades in music.
While loved by the public, Prine may have been even more adored by his peers. Bob Dylan once called his work "pure Proust-ian existentialism," adding that the singer wrote “beautiful songs." Bonnie Raitt, who memorably covered Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery” in 1974, compared the songwriter’s prowess to Mark Twain. In addition, Prine's work was recorded by a bevy of notable artists, including John Fogerty, R.E.M, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Drive-By Truckers, Kris Kristofferson and Bette Midler.
As fans and fellow musicians come to grips with Prine’s death, many have taken to social media to remember the departed singer. Bruce Springsteen called him “a true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages,” while the Band’s Robbie Robertson said the “world got a little darker” with Prine’s death.
Below is a collection of images from throughout the Prine’s life, chronicling his fascinating and inspiring career.