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John Prine (born October 10, 1946 in Maywood, Illinois) is an American country/folk singer-songwriter who has achieved widespread critical (and some commercial) success since the early 1970s.
The son of William Prine and Verna Hamm, his grandfather had played guitar with Merle Travis and he started playing guitar himself at age 14. Prine was a postman for five years and served in the army before beginning his musical career in Chicago.
Prine emerged in 1971 with a highly acclaimed debut album titled John Prine. He and friend Steve Goodman (another folk singer/songwriter) had been minor stars in the Chicago folk scene before being "discovered" by Kris Kristofferson. The album included his signature songs "Illegal Smile", "Sam Stone", and the environmentalist newgrass standard "Paradise". The album also included "Hello In There," a song about aging that was later covered by 10,000 Maniacs (as a B-side on the "You Happy Puppet" single), Natalie Merchant with Michael Stipe and Billy Bragg live in Glasgow (available on the Maniacs' Time Capsule video compilation), Joan Baez, Bette Midler, and E...