John Prine Posthumously Named Honorary Poet Laureate

John Prine has been posthumously named an Honorary Poet Laureate for the State of Illinois. Born in Maywood, IL and initially rising to fame in the state as the “singing mailman” in Chicago, Prine is the first Illinoisan to receive the honorary designation, which commemorates and celebrates his writing and musical contributions. Prine passed away due to complications from COVID-19 on April 7th at the age of 73.

“John Prine leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said in a statement, deftly sliding in some references to well-known Prine songs in his proclamation.

“John had a great respect for writers of all kinds. He regarded Poets as being among those whose work carried weight, relevance and elevated craft,” Prine’s widow Fiona Whelan Prine said in a statement. “It is such an honor for me, our sons, and the entire Prine family to acknowledge that our beloved John will be named an Honorary Poet Laureate of the State of Illinois. Thank you, Gov. Pritzker, for this wonderful recognition.”

Fiona Whelan Prine revealed in June that John had been working on a new album when he passed away, and the very final song Prine ever recorded called “I Remember Everything” was released via Prine’s label Oh Boy Records. Co-written with longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin and produced by Dave Cobb, the song actually debuted at #1 on the Billboard Digital Rock Songs Sales chart, giving Prine the first #1 of his career.

Don’t be surprised if more unreleased John Prine music surfaces in the future.

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