John Prine Retrospective to Lead Off Austin City Limits Season
John Prine’s victory lap for a life well lived and a legendary music career was cut short on April 7th when he passed away from complications due to COVID-19. But Austin City Limits will be paying tribute to the legendary songwriter by leading off their 46th season with a retrospective of Prine who appeared on the longest-running music program in television history a whopping eight times, starting with his debut in 1978, and ending with his final appearance in 2018.
Between that period John Prine went from a somewhat obscure songwriter and cult hero to one of the most celebrated songwriters of a generation. The retrospective follows Prine through this period while highlighting his various roles and characters over a 40-year span.
“Very few artists appeared on ACL more times than John Prine,” says Austin City Limits executive producer Terry Lickona. “It was a mutual love affair—he loved doing the show, and we loved having him (8 times!!). We consider these his best performances, and as always, he will have you laughing and crying—sometimes both during the same song.”
Austin City Limits has selected twelve performances for the special (see setlist below), and along with some of his most signature songs such as “Paradise” and “Angel From Montgomery” performed with Bonnie Raitt, the set includes a never-before-aired 1987 performance of his song “Sam Stone.” Along with the songs themselves, the stories Prine shares about them make the performances memorable, including a personal visit to DC’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial that inspired “Sam Stone.”
“John loved to play ‘Austin City Limits’ and was very proud to have made so many appearances over the years,” says Prine’s widow, Fiona Whelan Prine. “Terry Lickona has been a wonderful supporter of John’s career and a good friend to our family. Thank you ACL and Terry for opening your season with this special show.”
The episode is scheduled to debut on October 3rd on PBS. As they say, check local listing for specific dates and times.
Fish and Whistle (1978)
Hello in There (1978)
There She Goes (1983)
Sam Stone (1987)
Illegal Smile (1987)
Jesus, The Missing Years (1992)
Everything Is Cool (1992)
Picture Show (1996)
Angel from Montgomery (2002)
Summer’s End (2018)
When I Get to Heaven (2018)
October 2, 2020 @ 10:10 am
John R Baker
October 2, 2020 @ 10:13 am
This looks wonderful. I’m looking forward to it.
October 2, 2020 @ 12:27 pm
I recently introduced some folks to Prine via some of his songs I perform in an acoustic “in the round,” and now they frequently request more Prine songs, even though they were not familiar with him before. You just can’t go wrong with a Prine song.
October 2, 2020 @ 3:14 pm
My local listings put ACL on at about midnight on Sunday… Anybody got the scoop on streaming options? If i decide to investigate for myself I’ll be sure to come back at let erybody know!
October 2, 2020 @ 6:12 pm
Mine does too but fortunately I have DirecTV but I can’t help on streaming options. I hope you don’t miss it!
October 3, 2020 @ 1:03 pm
Where are you watching it on Directv ?
October 3, 2020 @ 10:06 am
I don’t believe PBS will offer any streaming options, at least in the short term. Sometimes they will stream the taping of episodes, or will offer episodes up later for viewing. But not as an alternative to the original broadcast. Since this is sort of an unusual presentation though, perhaps they will make it available. I’ll keep my eye out.
October 4, 2020 @ 10:04 am
PBS in Austin is showing it 3 different dates & times (including original date & time)
If y’all check your local PBS for additional dates & times for Johns showing I’m sure y’all
will have those options…
Miss you John…
October 4, 2020 @ 10:47 am
I found out that they will be streaming it for four weeks. I found this link https://www.pbs.org/video/the-best-of-john-prine-qv4uby/ and I also saw it on the ACL tv site.
October 2, 2020 @ 6:57 pm
Have only known and loved John Prine since early in May ,after my twin brother Phil died.I somehow discovered John as I scrolled on You Tube.must have been a message from above !!(Phil?) Now I have listened to ALL his great songs and love all his stories and his family! Thanks so much ” you tube !!!
October 3, 2020 @ 4:38 am
Thanks for the tip. DVR is set. John’s “Ain’t Hurting Nobody” has been one of my favorite songs lately. So darned catchy.
I got into John late, mainly after hearing his long interview with Marc Maron on the WTF podcast, episode 746. Worth a listen for fans. You can listen free on Youtube. Skip to 18:50 for the start of the interview.
October 3, 2020 @ 7:42 am
“Between that time when JP went from an obscure songwriter to a cult hero and a legend”
JP hasn’t been obscure since he was still toting the mail. Discovered by Kristofferson, signed to Atlantic, and touted by many as the next Dylan.. even having Dylan play harmonica at an early show, and this is all at the very beginning of his career and first album. Aside from that, I appreciate the coverage of my late hero.
October 3, 2020 @ 10:00 am
i agree that he was not obscure to people who listened to more then top of the pops music. a departed friend was exposing me to prine in 1990, playing me sam stone. it was like nothing i had ever heard before, and opened a world to me. 30 years later hello in there is beautiful and sad crashing into each other at the same time.
he is the musical equivalent of Dalton from Roadhouse, “I thought you’d be bigger”
October 3, 2020 @ 11:13 am
As someone who grew up listening to John Prine, i would say he was relatively obscure until fairly recently – I don’t think I ever met anybody outside of my family who knew of him until well into the ’90s. It was great seeing him get more and more recognition and success since then. Almost felt like seeing a member of my family making it big.
October 3, 2020 @ 1:07 pm
That’s what I was referring to with that statement. It really wasn’t until the last few years where Prine received his due, and I tried to chronicle that in real time. With all the younger artists shouting him out, and the impressive sales of his final album, it really helped elevate his legacy, and luckily when he was still around to enjoy it.
October 3, 2020 @ 11:37 am
everything about John Prine is beautiful, Perfect music
October 4, 2020 @ 9:06 am
What about the “Missing Years” in these great appearances? There’s a sixteen year gap in his legacy here. Nothing from “Fair and Square” which is a bummer. May the Maestro rest in perfect peace.
October 5, 2020 @ 9:26 am
First heard John at 1st Willie Nelson 4th of July picnic in 1973. Had not heard of him before that & he blew me away. From that point on, a Prine album release was a major event for me. Saw him again in 1993 when he toured with Nanci Griffith. Only other musicians I regarded that highly were John Stewart & Guy Clark. RIP John Prine