5 Hit Songs You Probably Didn’t Know John Prine Wrote [LISTEN]
George Strait recorded a John Prine song — he took it to No. 1, in fact. Don Williams did, too. Miranda Lambert didn't release her Prine cover as a single, but it's still one of her signature songs, and a sterling moment from her breakthrough album.
While Prine is best known as a folk and country music songwriter who provided a voice to a generation of artists, poets and thinkers, he achieved a level of commercial success long before his first Top 5 album, 2018's The Tree of Forgiveness. Covers of his songs are common perhaps today more than ever, as contemporaries such as Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson breathe new life into a catalog 50 years deep.
You may not even realize Prine wrote these five songs, starting with the one that made him famous. The 73-year-old died on April 7, 2020 -- one year ago -- after contracting COVID-19 in March. He was a two-time Grammy winner with 18 albums to his name; he was also a cancer survivor, father and husband of 24 years to wife Fiona.
Bonnie Raitt, "Angel From Montgomery"
Bonnie Raitt cut "Angel From Montgomery" in 1974 and has since said the song is more important to her body of work than any other song. Dozens of artists have covered it on albums and during live shows over the last 45 years, making this easily Prine's most well-known song.
George Strait, "I Just Want to Dance With You"
George Strait's breezy No. 1 from 1998 was a Prine co-write. Prine had previously cut the song for his 1986 album German Afternoons.
Miranda Lambert, "That's the Way That the World Goes Round"
While never a single, "That's the Way That the World Goes Round" has become a staple of Lambert's live show. She famously performed the song at the 2010 CMA Awards, one year after including it on her breakthrough album, Revolution.
David Allan Coe, "You Never Even Called Me By My Name"
Prine and Steven Goodman wrote "You Never Even Called Me By My Name," and Goodman recorded it for his 1971 album, but Prine requested to be left off the credits, as he didn't want to offend anyone. Only later, after David Allan Coe made the song a Top 10 hit, did people learn that Prine had a hand in the country music industry kiss-off.
Don Williams, "Love Is on a Roll"
While not one of Don Williams' signature songs, "Love Is on a Roll" was a No. 1 hit and his lead single off of Yellow Moon. It's a strolling country love song made easy by the Gentle Giant, as most lyrics tend to be.
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