“Over here on E Street, we are crushed by the loss of John Prine,” wrote Bruce Springsteen. He recalled the similar critical takes they received when they first arrived on the recording scene at about the same time. “John and I were ‘New Dylans’ together in the early ’70s and he was never anything but the loveliest guy in the world. A true national treasure and a songwriter for the ages. We send our love and prayers to his family.”
Others paying tribute to Prine or expressing shock and sorrow on social media included singers Miranda Lambert, Jason Isbell, Rosanne Cash, Brandy Clark, Kacey Musgraves, Sara Bareilles, Chris Isaak, Margo Price, Toby Keith, John Fogerty, Sheryl Crow and Ashley Monroe, novelist Stephen King, comic Marc Maron, actors Olivia Wilde and Bradley Whitford, and filmmakers Michael Moore, Taika Waititi and James Mangold.
Bonnie Raitt, who recorded “Angel from Montgomery” in the 1970s, tweeted, “Words can’t even come close. I’m crushed by the loss of my dear friend, John. My heart and love go out to Fiona and all the family. For all of us whose hearts are breaking, we will keep singing his songs and holding him near.”
Bette Midler, who famously covered “Hello in There,” wrote simply, “He’s gone” and “I can’t believe it.”
“I am crying at the moon tonight. The William Faulkner of songwriters,” wrote Bernie Taupin.
Brandi Carlile went to Instagram to post a video snippet of herself singing Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on a Wire” with Prine, writing, “We’re so lucky to have had you. You were always free. Now that you’re home and free from pain, I’m gonna pray for Fiona and the kids with everything I’ve got. Thank you for every single time I got to stand beside you and sing those once in a lifetime songs.”
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We’re so lucky to have had you. You were always free. Now that you’re home and free from pain, I’m gonna pray for Fiona and the kids with everything I’ve got. Thank you for every single time I got to stand beside you and sing those once in a lifetime songs. I love you John. @john_prine @fprine
Lambert, who covered “That’s the Way the World Goes Round,” posted a photo of herself with her hero and wrote, “Thank you for everything. One and only.”
Jason Isbell, who had performed with Prine on a number of occasions and acknowledged him as a primary role model, expressed gratitude that this is a shut-in moment for performers, lest he be expected to perform through tears right now.
”Made from a mold now broken, John Prine was a walking, grinning argument for human beings as a pretty good species,” said Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “In John’s songs, humor and heartache dance together like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. His words and melodies draw chuckles and blood, and tears of sorrow and redemption, all leading to truths widely known but never before articulated. John’s mind was a treasure chest, open to us all. We mourn his passing, even as we hold the treasure.”
One singer-songwriter was able to see a ray of hope in the outpouring: “You know what does my heart good on a blue blue day?” wrote Matraca Berg. “Twitter is exploding with @. People really do care about a genius in our time.”