Musicians pay tribute to folk icon John Prine, who died from COVID-19

Roger Waters, Bonnie Raitt and Phoebe Bridges share musical tributes to the songwriter

John Prine and Bonnie Raitt Onstage

Photo: Terry Wyatt / Getty Images for Americana Music Association

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Last week, the world said goodbye to legendary country folk singer-songwriter John Prine, who passed away from COVID-19. Ever since, friends and peers of the late musician have taken to sharing messages, and music in memorial of the late Americana icon.

Elvis Costello

Yesterday (15 April), Elvis Costello penned a lengthy open letter – detailing his admiration for the late singer-songwriter. The letter explains through various avenues how Prine’s life and music influenced Costello’s own, sharing numerous anecdotes – including some encounters with Prine himself.

In the letter, Costello reminisces first discovering Prine’s music as a young man. “My own introduction was via an Atlantic Record single plucked out of a discount bin of 45rpm records on the counter of Rushworth and Dreaper in Liverpool”, he wrote.

“It was a copy of Sam Stone backed by Illegal Smile, which in two short songs showed me everything that I would come to appreciate in John’s writing; on the A-side, a song of incredible empathy, an unflinching account of an addicted veteran and the impact of his torment on his family, all written with the authority of a man who had served in the army, while the b-side, was a good-humoured celebration of forbidden pleasures.”

Roger Waters

On Saturday (11 April), Roger Waters shared his performance of Prine’s Paradise on Facebook, accompanied with the statement, “My friend John Prine died. This is his song, Paradise. Miss you, brother.”

My friend John Prine died. This is his song, "Paradise". Miss you, brother.

Posted by Roger Waters on Saturday, April 11, 2020

Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt, a longtime friend of Prine, dedicated a YouTube video performance of the song Home – by Karla Bonoff to the late country icon. In the video, she dedicated the performance to “the angel from Montgomery”.

Earlier this year, Raitt performed at the ceremony which saw John Prine receive the Grammy’s lifetime achievement award – an honour that he shares with likes of The Beatles and Ella Fitzgerald.

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