John Prine Songs & Albums Spike on the Charts
John Prine was never known for his chart performance or super hits. He was a songwriter’s songwriter whose greatest contribution to music was critical-acclaim and influence. Well, until the final record of his career, 2018’s Tree of Forgiveness, which shocked the world by selling 54,000 equivalent albums upon it’s debut (and 53,000 album in pure sales). To put that into context, that’s 8,000 more albums that “country” superstar Sam Hunt’s new album Southside sold upon its debut.
Now John Prine is back in the charts, but this time for a much more somber reason. As fans and fellow artists took to remember John Prine through his music, songs and albums of the musical legend who passed away on April 7th at 73-years-old spiked on a number of charts.
Since some of Prine’s work has been labeled “rock,” and some of it “country” or “folk/Americana,” you have to really dig into the charts to find it all, speaking to the wide influence Prine had over his career.
The two albums from John Prine that saw the greatest spikes in sales upon his death were his first and his last. This week, Prine’s 1971 self-titled debut album finds itself at #1 on the folk/Americana chart, and #5 on the Top Rock Albums chart with 12,000 equivalent album units moved. 2018’s Tree of Forgiveness ended up at #3 in folk/Americana, #12 on Top Country Albums, and #15 on the Rock Albums charts with roughly 8,150 album equivalents totaled with sales, downloads, and streams.
As far as songs go, numerous John Prine titles ended up on the Billboard Hot Rock Songs chart this week.
#5 – “In Spite of Ourselves” w/ Iris Dement – 1.3 millions streams, 6,000 downloads.
#11 – “Angel from Montgomery” – 1.4 million streams, 3,000 downloads.
#18 – “Hello in There” – 844,000 streams, 3,000 downloads.
#19 – “When I Get to Heaven” – 894,000 streams, 2,000+ downloads.
#20 – “Angel From Montgomery” w/ Bonnie Raitt – 431,000 streams, 5,000 downloads.
#24 – “That’s the Way the World Goes Round” – 873,000 streams, 3,000 downloads.
On the Billboard Digital Rock Songs Sales Chart, John Prine appeared at:
#2 – “In Spite of Ourselves”
#15 – “Sam Stone”
#17 – “Angel from Montgomery” w/ Bonnie Raitt
#21 – “Illegal Smile”
No, John Prine songs did not appear on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart, but they did show up on the Billboard Digital Country Songs Sales Chart:
#4 – “In Spite of Ourselves” w/ Iris Dement
#15 – “When I Get to Heaven”
#24 – “Paradise”
And if you were wondering if people were discovering John Prine’s music for the first time after his passing, looking through the data of people searching for song lyrics is a good indication. In that case, John Prine absolutely the dominated Billboard LyricFind chart this week, so much so that the answer would be very resounding “yes.”
#1 – “Angel From Montgomery”
#3 – “Illegal Smile”
#4 – “Hello In There”
#5 – “Sam Stone”
#9 – “Six O’Clock News”
#10 – “Linda Goes to Mars”
#11 – “Spanish Pipedream”
#13 – “When I Get to Heaven”
#14 – “How Lucky”
#15 – “Souveniers”
#16 – “Donald and Lydia”
#20 – “Paradise”
All numbers via Billboard.
April 16, 2020 @ 9:53 am
Trigger, what Prine albums would you recommend? Let’s say your top three
April 16, 2020 @ 10:07 am
1. John Prine
2. Bruised Peach
3. Tree of Forgiveness
4. In Spite of Ourselves
Nicolas De Vos
April 16, 2020 @ 10:38 am
April 16, 2020 @ 10:53 am
Storm windows didn’t have as many classic tracks but the overall is one of my favourites. One Red Rose is a standout.
And then Live on Tour to get a feel for his more full band sound in mid career. Quit Hollerin at Me is something I love to use to block out the world.
But definately start with John Prine, Bruised Orange, and Tree of Forgiveness
And at some point make sure you listen to “lets talk dirty in hawaiian” because its hilarious.
April 16, 2020 @ 11:01 am
BRUISED ORANGE, TRIG.
April 16, 2020 @ 11:42 am
Yes, thank you. Y’all knew what I meant. 🙂
April 16, 2020 @ 11:04 am
Almost my choice too. 🙂
1. John Prine
2. Tree of Forgiveness
3. In Spite of Ourselves
Sir Adam the Great
April 16, 2020 @ 11:40 am
Bruised Peach is an album of alternate takes recorded in Georgia. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
Sweet Revenge is what got me into John Prine’s music, so that one has to be my favorite.
April 16, 2020 @ 2:01 pm
And whatever you do, listen to “lake marie” the song. Essential.
April 16, 2020 @ 2:30 pm
That’s probably my least favorite Prine song. I don’t know if it’s the production or the structure of the song. I also don’t like Keen’s, “The Road Goes on Forever” —- just another story set to music.
April 16, 2020 @ 5:39 pm
Such an interesting song because i totally understand why it would be a prine fan’s favorite and least favorite song of his.
The 331 club in minneapolis does an annual john prine half birthday celebration with local bands playing his songs, lake marie always gets the best reception from the crowd.
April 16, 2020 @ 8:41 pm
Wonder if there will be a lot of John Prine song nights on his birthday, October 10, especially since it falls on Saturday this year.
April 16, 2020 @ 5:20 pm
Don’t forget his live albums, they offer a little more insight and wit to the songs. The live version of Jesus, the Missing Years is better than the recorded, for example.
When you start to decipher what the songs mean, he’s even more enjoyable. Linda Goes to Mars is basically Angel from Montgomery from the husband’s prospective, and the story behind Sabu Visits the Twin Cities Alone is probably longer than the actual song.
April 16, 2020 @ 10:18 am
It is absolutely amazing that one cannot find a John Prine CD on Amazon, except for those older albums (CDs) that are offered at prices over $200 by individual sellers. Currently only digital downloads are available. I was fortunate to be an early fan who bought Prine records (on vinyl) back in the 70s. A few years back, I jumped back into the Prine catalog and bought some of the ‘missing’ albums on CD. I’ve been watching many of Prine’s live performances on YouTube and wishing there was a video compendium. I was likely among those folks who were on Google in the past week pulling down lyrics so I could re-learn some of the songs to play once again. God bless John Prine!
Scott Ryan Avery
April 16, 2020 @ 10:42 am
As much as any songwriter I can think of, Mr. Prine made the impossible seem effortless. No obvious instrumental or vocal virtuousity needed, just unforgettable songs that make us laugh and cry, sometimes simultaneously. Pure genius. Happy to see his work gain appreciation. Hot dog bun.
April 16, 2020 @ 1:30 pm
My sisters a nun.
Scott Ryan Avery
April 16, 2020 @ 2:31 pm
Thank you, NCalTrees. Regards to your sister.
April 16, 2020 @ 11:05 am
The missing years is pure songwriting Genius start to finish.
April 16, 2020 @ 11:30 am
I totally agree about The Missing Years. Only John Prine could have a list of essential albums that wouldn’t include something as brilliant as that! (Well, Van Morrison, too….). And no mention of Sweet Revenge?
It just demonstrates how incredible the guy was.
April 16, 2020 @ 11:39 am
The best place to get John Prine anything is his family’s record company, Oh Boy. I love all the albums, but I agree that The Missing Years is spectacular, start to finish. Every album, however, has something wonderful, even the one nobody ever mentions (for fairly good reasons), Pink Cadillac, has How Lucky.
April 16, 2020 @ 11:55 am
All the radio personalities over at Outlaw did an incredible job last weekend paying tribute to Prine. Old interviews with Prine, artists’ calling in to pay tribute, so many great stories (some never heard). It was beautiful.
April 16, 2020 @ 4:23 pm
Having just spent the last week listening to every one of his albums, in order, twice, I can report that he never made a bad album. His underrated 1975 “Common Sense” album, for example, is brilliant. As is his followup to “John Prine”, “Diamonds in the Rough.” And his followup to that, “Sweet Revenge.” Get them all.
April 16, 2020 @ 6:54 pm
All the songs bieng downloaded I can’t believe I’m not hearing mention of please don’t bury me
Always one of my favorites and somewhat fitting
April 16, 2020 @ 8:45 pm
Also nobody yet mentioned his humorous tribute to Dear Abby.
April 19, 2020 @ 5:08 am
Another unheralded song from John is The Great Compromise. The parallels he draws between his girlfriend leaving him at the drive-in and the U.S. entering the Vietnam War is pure genius.