HELLO IN THERE
John Prine is an American country/folk singer-songwriter. He has been active as a composer, recording artist, and live performer since the early 1970s.
Born and raised in Maywood, Illinois, Prine learned to play the guitar at the age of 14. Subsequently, serving in West Germany with the U.S. armed forces, by the late 1960s he had moved to Chicago, where he worked as a mailman, writing and singing songs as a hobby. Becoming a part of the city’s folk revival, he was discovered by Kris Kristofferson, resulting in the production of Prine’s self-titled debut album through Atlantic Records in 1971. After receiving critical acclaim, Prine focused on his musical career, recording three more albums for Atlantic. He then signed to Asylum Records, where he recorded an additional three albums.
In 1984 he co-founded Oh Boy Records, an independent record label with which he would release most of his subsequent albums. After his battle with squamous cell cancer in 1998, Prine’s vocals deepened into a gravel-voice, resulting in the award-winning album Fair & Square (2005).
Widely cited as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, Prine is known for humorous lyrics about love, life, and current events, as well as serious songs with social commentary, or which recollect melancholy tales from his life.
We had an apartment in the city,
Me and Loretta liked living there.
Well, it’d been years since the kids had grown,
A life of their own left us alone.
John and Linda live in Omaha,
And Joe is somewhere on the road.
We lost Davy in the Korean war,
And I still don’t know what for, don’t matter anymore.
Ya’ know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev’ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.”
Me and Loretta, we don’t talk much more,
She sits and stares through the back door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we’ve both seen.
Someday I’ll go and call up Rudy,
We worked together at the factory.
But what could I say if asks “What’s new?”
“Nothing, what’s with you? Nothing much to do.”
So if you’re walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don’t just pass ’em by and stare
As if you didn’t care, say, “Hello in there, hello.”