Musical legend and award winning artist John Prine passed away recently at the age of 73, due to complications from an untimely illness. Another victim of the sweeping health crisis that’s taken the lives of many other artists, Prine’s is one of the casualties that’s made headlines, much like fellow singer/songwriter Adam Schlesinger, in recent months, as his influence was felt by fellow musical artists like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Norah Jones, and Elvis Costello. But before his sudden passing, John Prine got to live it up a little, and in the process he got to see director Todd Philips’ film Joker for himself.
As it turns out, Prine and his wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, were hanging out in Paris for several days after his one and only show in the City of Lights. According to a new story in Rolling Stone, the two treated themselves to some shopping, fine French cheeses, and an in-room showing of Joaquin Phoenix’s award winning performance in Joker's radical reinterpretation of Gotham’s clown prince.
This victory lap was a bittersweet one, as John Prine booked this particular gig in Paris as it was one of the few countries he’d never played in his iconic career. Touring his latest album, The Tree of Forgiveness, he was forced to cancel the rest of his European tour, as he had suffered from a collapsed hip that would force him to return home.
Apparently, Joker wasn’t the only movie that Prine and his wife had enjoyed during their Parisian excursion, but that was the specific example cited in the recollections that this piece contained. On top of all of the tributes and details to John Prine’s last days, was some of Fiona’s own memories of the last couple days she’d shared with her husband.
In particular, she had the following to say about their time in Paris:
I just wanted to buy him gifts, because he always bought me gifts and he couldn’t go shopping because he couldn’t walk so well. I bought him a new ring that I’m wearing now. I bought him glasses. I just felt really tender towards him. Part of me knew that maybe I wasn’t going to have a whole lot of time left. But I believed we’d have a couple of more years.
Her kind acts towards her husband seemed to be foreshadowed by a feeling that John Prine’s untimely death would be sooner, rather than later. Sadly, that odd feeling was proven right, as after his hip surgery had taken place both of the Prines had been tested for COVID-19. Fiona tested positive, with John’s status being undetermined, only to lead to his hospitalization and death weeks a couple weeks later.
The loss of John Prine is still being felt by the world at large, and his music will continue to tell the stories he’s always been known to weave in his absence. With a partially completed autobiography, and another album he had in the works acting as a capstone to his legacy, it’s nice to know that John finally got to enjoy Paris, with Joker and some fine French food in his schedule before passing.