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John Prine’s Albums, Songs Return to Billboard Charts Following His Death

A pair of Prine's LPs reach the Billboard 200, while six songs hit Hot Rock Songs.

Material from John Prine’s vast catalog of albums and songs dot Billboard’s April 18-dated charts following the heralded singer-songwriter’s April 7 death at age 73 due to complications from the coronavirus.

On the all-format Billboard 200 albums chart, Prine’s self-titled 1971 debut re-enters the list at No. 55 with 12,000 equivalent album units earned, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data, in the tracking week ending April 9. Not only is No. 55 a new peak for the LP, it’s also its first appearance on the tally since March 1972. (It originally peaked at No. 154 that year.)

One other Prine album reaches the Billboard 200: his final album before his death, 2018’s The Tree of Forgiveness, which re-enters at No. 109 (8,000 units) after last charting in May 2018. (Tree debuted and peaked at No. 5, his highest charting album ever.)


Both albums reach a pair of genre-based charts; John Prine debuts at No. 1 on Americana/Folk Albums and at No. 5 on Top Rock Albums, while The Tree of Forgiveness re-enters at Nos. 3, 12 and 15 on  Americana/Folk Albums, Top Country Albums and Top Rock Albums, respectively.

Additionally, Prine releases In Spite of Ourselves (No. 11, 4,000 units) and Prime Prine: The Best John Prine (No. 14, 4,000 units) reach Americana/Folk Albums.

Meanwhile, on the streaming-, sales- and airplay-based Hot Rock Songs chart, where older songs are able to re-enter if in the top half of chart points and with a meaningful reason for their entry, six titles featuring Prine debut, led by his duet with Iris DeMent, “In Spite of Ourselves,” at No. 5. Prine’s death spurred 6,000 digital downloads, up 358 percent, and 1.3 million streams, up 191 percent, for the song.


Prine’s solo version of “Angel from Montgomery” follows (No. 11; 3,000 downloads, 1.4 million streams), with “Hello in There” (No. 18; 3,000 downloads, 844,000 streams ), “When I Get to Heaven” (No. 19; 3,000 downloads, 894,000 streams ), Bonnie Raitt’s rendition of “Angel from Montgomery” featuring Prine (No. 20; 5,000 downloads, 431,000 streams) and “That’s the Way the World Goes” (No. 24; 3,000 downloads, 873,000 streams) also reaching the list.

Each of the above dot the Rock Digital Song Sales chart (led by “In Spite of Ourselves” at No. 2), with additional songs including “Sam Stone” (No. 15, 2,000 downloads), Raitt’s solo version of “Angel from Montgomery” (No. 17, 2,000 downloads) and “Illegal Smile” (No. 21, 1,000 downloads).

The LyricFind U.S. chart, which tracks lyric searches and usages in the United States (with the latest tracking week ending April 13), sees many Prine songs among its ranks as well, led by “Angel from Montgomery” at No. 1. Lyric searches for the song spiked 6,748 percent following the announcement of his death, according to LyricFind.


And on the Social 50, which measures the engagement on leading social media sites as tracked by Next Big Sound, Prine vaults to No. 7, driven predominantly by Wikipedia views — 419,000 in all in the tracking week ending April 9, according to Next Big Sound.