John Prine began playing guitar at age 14. He was a mailman who began playing open-mic shows in Chicago. Movie Critic Roger Ebert heard him perform and called him a great songwriter. He was discovered by Kris Kristofferson in 1971 with his self-titled debut album. Kristofferson said Prine wrote songs so well that "we'll have to break his thumbs." The album included the songs "Illegal Smile," "Sam Stone" and "Far From Me," which Prine claims as his favorite song of all time.
His second album, Diamonds in the Rough, continued to be uncommerical and stripped-down.
Prine continued writing and recording throughout the 80's and formed his own record label, Oh Boy Records.
1991 saw the release of The Missing Years, which won a Grammy. The title song is a humorous look at the missing years of the life of Jesus.
In 1998, he was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery was performed to remove the disease from the right side of his neck but left him with substantial tissue loss. In 2003, he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Bob Dylan said that Prine is one of his favorite songwriters. Johnny Cash sited Prine as inspirational and a songwriter he had admired for years.
Prine received the Artist of the Year award at the American Music Awards in 2005. His latest album, Standard Songs for Average People, was released in 2007.
You can learn more about John Prine on his official website and purchase his music here.