Spanish Pipedream


“Originally, the chorus wasn’t about blowing up your TV. It was something about the girls forgetting to take the pill, but sunk pretty low after that first great verse. I sounded like Loretta Lynn singing about “the pill.” Then I got the line “blow up your TV.” I used to keep a small bowl of real fine pebbles that I picked up on my mail route, and if somebody said something really stupid on TV I’d throw some at the screen.”John Prine (1035)

Souvenirs


“I have three brothers, two older, one younger. And one of them was asking me about “Souvenirs” once. He was five years older than me and I remember once we were at a carnival and we were very small, and he got lost for awhile and I got very, very scared that I would never see my brother. I remember that. It was a different kind of scared than I had ever experience before in my life, like being scared by ghosts or creepy stuff. And I kept that emotion buried somewhere, and it came out in “Souvenirs.” How, I don’t know. I told him, “I remember you standing there holding a little plastic horse that you either won or somebody gave you. I put it all together in a picture, and that’s what came out”.”John Prine (1269)

Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow)


“I liked the title, and the image, and I wanted to do something with that image without saying anything about an orange or a bruise in the song.It was based upon something that actually happened. I was an altar boy, and the Northwestern train tracks were not far from the church that I went to. I was going down there one day and there was this big ruckus going on at the train tracks. I had to go shovel the snow off the church steps before Mass. Because they’d sue the church if people fell and broke their legs. So I was going down there to get the snow and ice off. I went over to the train tracks. A kid who had also been an altar boy at the Catholic Church, I found out later, was walking down the train tracks. And evidently the commuter train came up behind him. They were taking him away in bushel baskets, there was nothing left of him. There were a bunch of mothers standing around, trying to figure out – cause it was Sunday morning and all their kids were gone and they didn’t know – they all hadn’t located their children yet, and they didn’t know who it was. I told that story on TV once, I was asked about that song when it first came out. And the family of that son lived near Madison, Wisconsin years and years later – 20 years later – just wrote me the nicest letter, and told me they recognized the subject. They gave me the date of when it happened, and that would have been around the time when it happened. And so it was just a vivid memory that I had, and I put it together with how I felt about my job as an altar boy. I was supposed to be the maintenance man at church and they were short an altar boy. They baptized me and confirmed me on a Saturday and Sunday I was wearing a robe, lighting a candle. Then I had to go early and shovel the snow as a maintenance man or cut the lawn in the summertime. And that’s when I bought my first guitar.”John Prine (1269)

The Late John Garfield Blues


“It was originally called, on paper, “The Late Sunday Evening Early Monday Morning Blues.” There was a sort of movie that you’d see on Sunday night that you would not see the rest of the nights of the week. And I believe it was on WGN. They’d show these old black & white flicks. And a lot of my favorite ones were John Garfield movies. I put the two together – the image of him and that kind of odd Sunday time, the Sunday funnies would be laying around and Parade magazine. Probably had a big dinner at some point. Your typical Sunday, which was not a typical day at all. It was always different.. Lonelier than the other days. And there was the feeling that you had to go to school the next day, or to work.So late Sunday night would always be a different time to me. I wanted to try to pinpoint that, so I chose a John Garfield movie, and I didn’t mention the movie at all, I just called it ‘The Late John Garfield Blues’.”John Prine (1269)

Lonesome Friends of Science


“This tells you about the humiliation of the planet Pluto when it was told it was no longer a planet the romantic escapades of the Vulcan in Birmingham, Alabama and the end of the world as we know it all in a little over four minutes.”John Prine (1270)

Crazy As A Loon


“A song about a fellow who had a little bit too much to dream. When things would go wrong for him he’d blame it on whatever town he was in at the time.”John Prine (1271)

My Darlin’ Hometown


“I mentioned that we spend a lot of time in Ireland. Me and my wife bought a little cottage in Galway a couple of years ago, and it’s a really neat place to go to. It’s a little town only about two blocks long and there’s nine pubs, so basically your biggest decision of the day is which pub you’re going to go to that night. So I wrote this song kind of about my little place over there, except I didn’t want to describe it to a T, you know, because I don’t want to sell maps to it but mostly this is about a little town called Kinvara.”John Prine (1271)

Other Side Of Town


“This song is about a man who over a long period of time has developed this very special ability to travel in his mind particularly when his wife starts going on just a little too long about something he hasn’t done. There’s absolutely nothing autobiographical about this song, it’s a disclaimer remember my wife made me put it in there.”John Prine (1271)

She Is My Everything


“Not too long after I wrote that song [Other Side of Town – Ed], I wrote this one to make up for it to my wife. It helps to keep some sort of balance going you know. It’s for my wife Fiona.”John Prine (1271)

Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore


“I wrote this when I was a mailman in Chicago back in 1968. We used to get several periodicals that we hated as mailman. One of them was Reader’s Digest, because it was so little, it was little enough to carry with the envelopes but was real thick so you could only fit about three of them in your hand and you’d end up with about 300 bundles of mail the day Reader’s Digest came in. They give Reader’s Digest subscription to anybody, if you didn’t write back in and say, “No, I don’t want it”. If you joined the Columbia Record Club, you had Reader’s Digest. Just after the Vietnam War got really ugly, people called ‘the silent majority’ all of a sudden decided to use the American flag for whatever they stood for. Next thing you know Reader’s Digest gave everybody a free American flag that you could stick anywhere you wanted to. I thought it was kind of odd, you know. I was delivering them and the next day I came out and everybody had stuck them to their windows or their car bumpers and their mailboxes. They didn’t just like put them up there, they stuck them up there. So I wrote this on a mail route. I retired the song for years and years but after our last president started using the American flag to get everybody all riled up, I thought I’d bring it back.”John Prine (1272)