John Prine 10 Essential Songs

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Illegal Smile” (1971): The opening track to Prine’s self-titled 1971 debut.

Spanish Pipedream” (1971): There’s a lot of advice in Prine’s tale about a soldier and a topless dancer who run off together to live the good life. 

Paradise” (1971): A sentimental recollection of home that’s also an unsparing description of predatory capitalist devastation.

Hello in There” (1971: Inspired by John Lennon’s reverb-heavy vocal on the Beatles’ “Across the Universe.

Sam Stone” (1971: Prine wrote this heartbreaking tale of a heroin-addicted veteran for his first album.

Christmas in Prison” (1973): Leave it to Prine to write a deeply unconventional Christmas song.

Blue Umbrella” (1973): Prine wrote this young man’s blues about an early breakup.

Angel From Montgomery” (1971: Prine’s most widely known song is an indelible portrait of “a middle-aged woman who feels older than she is.

Souvenirs” (1972: Prine wrote this gorgeous meditation on nostalgia in his ‘65 Chevelle.

Mexican Home” (1973: Prine’s father Bill was a factory worker .

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