13 John Prine Lyrics That Prove He Wrote Like No One Else

John Prine could write a song like no one else. Throughout his five-decade career, the folk icon proved himself to be one of a kind.

Prine’s lyrical stories were both fantastical and simple; he wrote with a Midwest-bred honesty and humor that kept listeners on their toes. His catalog, spread over 18 albums, contains vivid stories (“Lake Marie”), insightful looks at the human condition (“Hello in There”) and sweet love songs (“Aimless Love”).

Impressively, Prine was only in his mid-20s when he wrote song of his most beloved songs, from “Sam Stone” to “Angel From Montgomery.” He earned critical and industry acclaim, even if his work was not particularly commercially successful, and his songs were covered — and made into hits — by everyone from George Strait to Miranda Lambert, among many others.

These 13 Prine lyrics — largely pulled from his songs’ choruses — are some of his very best:

“Spanish Pipedream (Blow Up Your TV)” (1971)

Blow up your TV, throw away your paper / Go to the country, build you a home / Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches / Try an’ find Jesus on your own

“Hello in There” (1971)

Ya’ know that old trees just grow stronger / And old rivers grow wilder ev’ry day / Old people just grow lonesome / Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.”

“Souvenirs” (1972)

Memories they can’t be boughten / They can’t be won at carnivals for free / Well, it took me years / To get those souvenirs / And I don’t know how they slipped away from me

“Speed of the Sound of Loneliness” (1986)

So what in the world’s come over you? / And what in Heaven’s name have you done? / You’ve broken the speed of the sound of loneliness / You’re out there running just to be on the run

“When I Get to Heaven” (2018)

‘Cause then I’m gonna get a cocktail: vodka and ginger ale / Yeah, I’m gonna smoke a cigarette that’s nine miles long / I’m gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl / Yeah this old man is goin’ to town


“Glory of True Love” (2005)

You can climb the highest mountain / Touch the moon and stars above / But old faithful’s just a fountain / Compared to the glory of true love

“In Spite of Ourselves” (1999)

In spite of ourselves / We’ll end up a-sittin’ on a rainbow / Against all odds / Honey, we’re the big door prize / We’re gonna spite our noses / Right off of our faces / There won’t be nothin’ but big old hearts / Dancin’ in our eyes.

“We Are the Lonely” (1995)

We are the lonely all together / All together we’re all alone

“All the Best” (1991)

I wish you love and happiness / I guess I wish you all the best / I wish you don’t do like I do / And never fall in love with someone like you

“Unlonely” (1991)

You make me unlonely / I feel like the only / Person in the world / That ever had a girl like you

“That’s the Way That the World Goes Round” (1978)

That’s the way that the world goes ’round / You’re up one day and the next you’re down / It’s half an inch of water and you think you’re gonna drown / That’s the way that the world goes ’round

“Aimless Love” (1984)

Love has no mind / It can’t spell unkind / It’s never seen a heart shaped like a Valentine / For if love knew you, it’d walk up to you / And introduce you to an aimless love

“Somewhere Someone’s Falling in Love” (1984)

You may be looking for someone / Someone may be looking for you / Someday you’ll awaken and open your eyes / And love will be looking at you

WATCH: John Prine’s Best Songs


(The Boot)