MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) – Music fans in Muhlenberg County are remembering the man who put one of their towns in the national spotlight.
John Prine, who recorded the song ‘Paradise’ died yesterday from complications related to coronavirus.
Of all the songs he’s known for, it’s the one about an old Muhlenberg County town fans in this county hold the closest to their heart.
“The song about Paradise was one of my favorites,” said Brandon Beck, who likes Prine’s music. “My grandfather sung it. My uncle sung it. Of course, I just heard it all my life.”
“That song is sung in street corners. It’s sung in terms of concert halls. It’s been identified as being a part of the coal mining history in our county,” adds Freddie Mayes of the Muhlenberg Co. Music and History Museum.
Prine died at a Nashville hospital Tuesday after complications related to the coronavirus. He wrote paradise in the early 1970s and sung it at shows in Beaver Dam and Central City in recent years.
“I was surprised. I thought he lived for about 10 days after he got it and I figured he might pull through it,” said Lowell Jones of Muhlenberg County.
Mayes says Prine, who was from the Chicago area, made the song as a tribute to his parents and grandparents who were from the paradise area. He also traveled down the Green River to visit family when he could.
“There’s a lot of satisfaction in the fact that John Prine was able to be back in our community one more time last year. We did homecoming festivals from 1986 to 2002 and those were hosted by the Everly Brothers, but John was a regular at those events,” he recalled.
Fans will remember him for his long career, and local fans will cherish that often remembered song.
“We hope he is in Paradise forever,” Mayes says.
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(This story was originally published on April 8, 2020)