Last night brought the unfathomably sad news that the great songwriter John Prine had died of complications from COVID-19. Prine was hospitalized a couple of weeks ago, and many of admirers — Joan Baez, Adrianne Lenker, Kevin Morby — have been sharing videos of themselves covering Prine’s songs in recent weeks. Last night, Wilco leader Jeff Tweedy played a particularly poignant Prine classic.
During quarantine, Tweedy has been playing nightly Tweedy Show sets on Instagram Live. When Prine was first hospitalized, Tweedy and his sons Spencer and Sammy sang Prine’s song “Illegal Smile” on Instagram live. And as Brooklyn Vegan reports, Tweedy covered multiple Prine songs, including “Summer’s End” and — in the one that someone helpfully posted on YouTube — the mordantly funny “Please Don’t Bury Me.”
Prine had a habit of singing about his own death, and that’s what he did on “Please Don’t Bury Me,” a song from the 1973 album Sweet Revenge. The country-influence track opens with Prine singing, “Woke up this morning, put on my slippers, walked in the kitchen, and died.” It ends with him requesting that we kiss his ass goodbye. Playing his solo-acoustic version of “Please Don’t Bury Me,” Tweedy appears to work hard not to crack up laughing a couple of times. When it’s over, he says, “Probably a little bit inappropriate, but celebratory, as well. I hope.” Watch it below.