Songs to Get Through a Pandemic #12, When I Get to Heaven

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John Prine’s passing due to COVID-19 is one of the many tragedies of the past year, but Prine had the last laugh with this song, which as an artist was about as charming an F-you to the pandemic as one could imagine. And yet, at the same time, he talks to love and family and all the things that live on with us and beyond us. Here, he talks about what he’ll do in heaven.

And then I’m gonna go find my mom and dad
And good old brother Doug
Well I bet him and cousin Jackie are still cuttin’ up a rug

I wanna see all my mama’s sisters
’Cause that’s where all the love starts
I miss ’em all like crazy
Bless their little hearts

Prine has his limits. A lot of his songs sound a lot like his other songs and his voice is his voice, especially after throat cancer stole some range. (My wife has never been able to warm to him.) He wrings about all you can out of three chords. But my god, the guy could write a song and tell a story in a couple minutes (Lake Marie, anyone? Hello in There? ). And I’m glad that Brandi Carlile will honor him at Sunday’s Grammys. His last song, I Remember Everything, is about being the one still here and thinking that in real life, it went the other way, really makes you think. Rest in peace, John. Enjoy the cocktail and that cigarette.

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