Television

John Prine Imagines Rocking the Afterlife in Whimsical 'When I Get to Heaven' on 'Tonight Show': Watch

John Prine
Andrew Lipovsky/NBC

John Prine performs on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Oct. 29, 2018.

Legendary folk singer-songwriter John Prine took a trip to the afterlife on The Tonight Show on Monday night (Oct. 29) for a knee-slapping run through his whimsical original “When I Get to Heaven." The song from the 72 year-old singer's first album of new material in 13 years, The Tree of Forgiveness, is a bright and twangy, comically focused sketch of his plan to live it up in the afterlife.    

Prine, standing on a dark stage by himself strumming his acoustic guitar, smiled and leaned into the cheeky first verse: "When I get to heaven/ I’m gonna shake God's hand/ Thank him for more blessings than one man can stand/ Then I'm gonna get a guitar and start a rock-n-roll band/ Check into a swell hotel; ain't the afterlife grand?"

The stage brightened, revealing a four-piece backing band, who beefed up the cheery song from the man considered one of the greatest songwriters of his generation. “And then I'm gonna get a cocktail,” Prine sang in his signature gritty voice. “Vodka and ginger ale/ Yeah, I'm gonna smoke a cigarette that's nine miles long/ I’m gonna kiss that pretty girl on the tilt-a-whirl/ ‘Cause this old man is goin' to town.”

Prine elicited laughter on the following verse, dashed with dry wit. The subsequent choruses were joined by a lively collection of kazoos played by Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, causing the audience to light up with applause. 

Watch the entertaining performance below.