Bob Dylan Sings John Prine – Happy Birthday John Prine

Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism. Midwestern mindtrips to the nth degree. And he writes beautiful songs. I remember when Kris Kristofferson first brought him on the scene. All that stuff about Sam Stone the soldier junky daddy and Donald and Lydia, where people make love from ten miles away. Nobody but Prine could write like that. If I had to pick one song of his, it might be Lake Marie. I don’t remember what album that’s on.
-Bob Dylan (to Bill Flanagan in 2009)

John Prine (born October 10, 1946) is an American country folk singer-songwriter. He has been active as a composer, recording artist, and live performer since the early 1970s, and is known for an often humorous style of country music that has elements of protest and social commentary.

Bob Dylan covered John Prine’s “People Puttin’ People Down” twice in 1991. The Rome video has been available on youtube for quite some time, but the Sao Paolo version has only surfaced recently.

People without love – sometimes build a fence around
The garden up above – that makes the whole world go ’round
But all the people who don’t fit
Get the only fun they get
From people puttin’ people down
People puttin’ people down

So cold, sometimes it gets so cold

Roma Palaeur
Rome, Italy
6 June 1991

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • John Jackson (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Ian Wallace (drums)


Palace Theatre
Sao Paolo, Brazil
17 August 1991

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • John Jackson (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Ian Wallace (drums)


Let’s also include Prine’s original version.


-Egil

6 thoughts on “Bob Dylan Sings John Prine – Happy Birthday John Prine”

  1. According to Clinton Heylin’s BOB DYLAN: THE RECORDING SESSIONS Dylan may have recorded a cover of Prine’s “Donald and Lydia” on November 4, 1971 when he cut “Wallflower” and “George Jackson.”

    1. The Bitter End
      New York City, New York
      9 September 1972
      -John Prine gig-

      1. Unidentified Song
      2. Donald And Lydia (John Prine)
      3. Sam Stone (John Prine)

      John Prine (guitar & vocal), Bob Dylan (harmonica & backup vocal).

      Note. No circulating tape from this event.

      Reference. Clinton Heylin: Bob Dylan. A Life In Stolen Moments. Day by Day: 1941 – 1995. Schirmer Books 1996, page 135.

  2. Ain’t nobody like Mr. John Prine. No one. Nowhere. No how. No time. No better. He has a song for every doubt, every tear, every laugh and most importantly, every person. Love his music. Love his voice. Love him like a brother. Happy Birthday, John. Hope it’s as full of joy as fills the people who appreciate the mere sound of your name.

  3. Got up and left a Dylan concert in the early nineties because if you didn’t know the lyrics to the song you wouldn’t know what he was singing. Steve Earle was the opening act and was great! Dylan blew that cover version of John Prine’s song.

  4. I understand this is a Bob Dylan blog but John Prine really got slighted in Ken Burns country documentary because he did not get mentioned many lesser songwriters we’re glorified and John Prine ignored not right

    1. I thought the doc was excellent, however, after watching every second, I noted several omissions. Where was Jimmy Martin? Why didn’t they delve further into the OUTLAW movement – Gary Stewart? As broad as it covered, they couldn’t mention the impact country had on the STONES? Where is PRINE? (they said his name once in passing). He is folk rock country. That fit the bill of the doc. He is one of the better songwriters in history. I am a musician/songwriter. My top three influences are DYLAN , CHUCK, HANK. I have gotten off stage and strangers tell me I sound like STEVE EARLE and JOHN PRINE. Second greatest compliment I could receive. Never reply to these, but had to agree. Also, they couldn’t give bob credit for writing WAGON WHEEL on the set of PAT GARRET & BILLY THE KIDD- that he recorded , threw on the floor, and like so many others, was picked up from boots.

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