John Prine has received a very special posthumous honor. The late country folk legend has been named the first honorary poet laureate of Illinois, his home state.
“John Prine leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for,” comments Governor J.B. Pritzker in a statement.
Prine is the first Illinoisan to receive the honorary designation, which commemorates his and celebrates his writing and musical contributions.
“John had a great respect for Writers of all kinds. He regarded Poets as being among those whose work carried weight, relevance and elevated craft,” comments Fiona Whelan Prine, the celebrated singer and songwriter’s widow. “It is such an honor for me, our sons, and the entire Prine family to acknowledge that our beloved John will be named an Honorary Poet Laureate of the State of Illinois. Thank you, Gov. Pritzker, for this wonderful recognition.”
The unprecedented accolade closely follows the release of Prine’s final single, “I Remember Everything,” which opened at No. 1 on the Rock Digital Song Sales tally dated June 27, for his first leader on a Billboard chart.
Prine died April 7, due to complications with coronavirus. He was 73.
His life and career was celebrated with the two-hour June 11 special Picture Show: A Tribute Celebrating John Prine, which aired on multiple social platforms including the musician’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitch channels. During the service, viewers were encouraged to make donations to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Alive Hospice and Make the Road New York.
“I Remember Everything” was written with longtime collaborator Pat McLaughlin and recorded in Prine’s living room.