Folk legend Joan Baez has offered up a song in the name of John Prine, who only recently was announced to be in stable condition after fighting with COVID-19.
Yesterday brought the extremely unfortunate news that John Prine, the widely beloved American singer-songwriter, has been fighting for his life in the hospital for the past few days. Prine and his wife Fiona have both been battling coronavirus, and Prine for quite some time was in critical condition. This news has brought twin outpourings of grief and love from Prine’s many admirers, including his peers. One of those peers is the folk legend Joan Baez, who first sang one of Prine’s songs 45 years ago.
Prine’s song ‘Hello In There’ is a devastating piece of work. It’s sung from the perspective of an old man living a sad, disconnected, boring life, longing for some kind of connection: “You know that old trees just grow stronger/ And old rivers grow wilder every day/ Old people just grow lonesome/ Waiting for someone to say, ‘Hello in there, hello.’”
Thankfully, Prine’s wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, has since confirmed that Prine is now in stable condition.
“We are humbled by the outpouring of love for me and John and our precious family,” she tweeted. “He is stable. Please continue to send your amazing Love and prayers. Sing his songs. Stay home and wash hands. John loves you. I love you.”
The couple had been quarantining separately after both exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.
News of John Prine’s hospitalisation spurred tributes of hope from his musical contemporaries. 60s folk icon Joan Baez shared a cover of Prine’s 1971 song ‘Hello in There’, to show support for the musician and his wife.
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“John, this song that I’ve sung of yours has been one of the most requested songs in my repertoire for over 40 years,” Baez said. “So let me sing it to you and send along my best wishes and prayers.” Baez originally covered the song on a 1975 album, “Diamonds and Rust.”