John Prine and Bob Dylan

Prine dylan
John Prine, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen (and his girlfriend)

According to Clinton Heylin, A Life in Stolen Moments,  Bob Dylan joined John Prine onstage during Prine’s Sep 9, 1972 residency at the Bitter End, they did three songs together, Heylin names two,   “Sam Stone”,  and “Donald and Lydia”. John Prine has later said that the third song they did was “Far from me” and he continued to say, “It was like a dream.” It was actually Kris Kristofferson who set up a meeting at Carly Simon’s place around this date in 72.

“I was a big fan of Bob Dylan early on and his song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.” I modeled “Donald and Lydia” after that song, as far as telling a story and having the chorus be the moral to the story.”
– John Prine (Americansongwriter)

“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 (Interview with Bill Flanagan 2009)

These two songwriters have a great mutual respect and have also covered each other’s songs.

Bob Dylan’s favorite John Prine song, Lake Marie:

What do you think of Bob Dylan?
Well, I have to say Bob Dylan and Hank Williams Sr. were my biggest influences.
Like him as a person?
He’s always been nice to me.

– The Larry King Show (Aug 13, 1992, transcribed in “Isis”, No. 44, Aug-Sep 1992)


Bob Dylan – People putting people down (Prine):

John Prine – When I paint my masterpiece (Dylan/Danko):

here is another version from the Levon Helm tribute concert, Love for Levon  held in 2012, John Prine with Garth Hudson- When I paint my masterpiece:


Bill Flanagan: Who are some of your favorite songwriters?

Bob Dylan: Buffett I guess. Lightfoot. Warren Zevon. Randy. John Prine. Guy Clark. Those kinds of writers.

– Hallgeir

3 thoughts on “John Prine and Bob Dylan”

  1. I love John Prine. Why’d they have to steal some of his thunder by introducing Garth then?

    1. Well, this concert was all about honoring Levon Helm, and it seems fitting that Garth Hudson also should play a part in this. Alone or with John Prine shouln’t matter as long as both paid tribute to Levon.

      – Hallgeir

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