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John Prine And Bill Murray Discuss Their Early Days Of Music, Comedy & More

Peter Cooper, John Prine and Bill Murray

Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

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John Prine And Bill Murray Discuss Their Early Days Of Music, Comedy & More

Two giants of their respective crafts, Prine and Murray sat down for an intimate conversation to reflect on the old days hosted by the Recording Academy Nashville Chapter

GRAMMYs/Oct 11, 2018 - 05:16 am

Like other Chicagoans who left their hometown to become world-famous, both John Prine and Bill Murray remain Chicagoans at heart forever, forever imprinted by the big city where they started their careers in close-proximity to each other. So it made sense to bring these two old friends together to discuss how they went from Chicago boys to legends.

Presented by the Recording Academy Nashville Chapter and moderated by musician/author Peter Cooper, the conversation took place in front of an intimate audience at RCA’s historic Studio A in Nashville. The old friends reminisced about their early days in Chicago and crossing paths with the likes of John Belushi, Steve Goodman and Kris Kristofferson. They also talked songwriting, improvisational comedy, record deals, friendship, and much more.

On Getting Started

Prine: Soon as I could play one guitar chord and laid my ear upon that wood, I was gone. My soul was sold. Music was everything from then on. I’d listen to that chord as long as it would linger.

Murray: First time I went to class at Second City, I was so bad that I walked out to the street, and just kept walking. Then I hitchhiked around the country. When I came back, I could do it. I had to go out and live some before I could stand in my own shoes onstage and feel confident.

Prine: I was 22, working as a mailman, doing the open mike night. I wrote “Souvenirs” in the car on the way.
Cooper: How did you know at your age all about longing and, regret?

Prine: Man, I’ve known about that since my first pair of shoes. You know that first love that leaves you? You never forget that, especially if you’re a songwriter. I must have gotten nine songs out of that girl.

On Steve Goodman

Prine: [Goodman] was 5 feet 2 of dynamite. He was a ball of energy. Also the hardest person I’ve ever followed onstage. Steve would just drain the audience. They would have no bones on them after. Then he’d walk offstage, hit me on the shoulder, and say, “They’re gonna love you, Johnny.”

Murray: Sometimes I’d be done at Second City and they’d still be going at The Earl, so I’d stumble by to hear Prine or Steve Goodman. By then they’d already manipulated the crowd. There were men that were crying, and women who were just adoring. Musicians! They work their ways.

On Struggling To Survive

Murray: I had to get out the house. We lived in the suburbs and I was not welcome in my own house, because I was a troublemaker. I had a schedule worked out where I’d get in late, sleep past when everyone would leave, wake up, eat all the eggs I could, feed the dogs, and leave before they came back. Then I’d be out all night and come back and go to sleep before they left.

I’d go to Old Town, where my brother took care of me. I watched the shows at Second City a lot. It was Belushi, John Candy, my brother [Brian Doyle Murray]. and his friends. I’d hitchhike back and forth, because I had no money. And hitchhiking in Chicago in the winter is a ridiculous proposition. Somehow I made it home.

Prine: My goal was getting out of the post-office. I was a mailman walking in the snow six days a week, 12-hour days. Every two weeks I’d get a check for $228. Earl of the Earl of Old Town told me, “If you sing four nights a week, I’ll give you a thousand bucks cash under the table.” I thought, this is heaven!  Once I got out, I was King of the Hill!  I slept late all week and made a thousand dollars a week! I didn’t care if I never did anything else. I was a total 100% success. That was as far as I wanted to go. I didn’t think of getting a record deal.

On Finding Success

Murray: I was onstage at Second City and I did something in a scene, and I could feel it in me; I felt it react and rebound with the audience. It hit me I could support myself by doing this.

Prine: Kris Kristofferson and Steve Goodman were the two most unselfish people I ever met. Kris loved Steve, and said he needed to go to Nashville to make a record. Goodman said, “No. You need to go hear my buddy, John Prine.”

So at one in the morning on a Sunday they came to the Earl and I sang. Then Kris asked me to sing them again and said I was going to New York, too. Goodman and I went to New York, straight to the Bitter End. We see Kris, who told us we were each going to sing three songs a piece. Jerry Wexler came up after and asked me to come over to Atlantic the next morning at 10 am. I did, and he had a record contract on his desk waiting for me. I hadn’t been in New York 24 hours.

Back then in Chicago, you had to leave town to get a deal. Me and Goodman left town for three days and came back with record contracts. We were like returning astronauts! I never knew that wasn’t the way it went. I wondered for years why my peers kept their distance from me. It’s cause I was the Cinderella kid. And I was lucky.

Murray: These guys are ice-breakers. Kristofferson for you. Belushi was mine. He dragged all of us to New York for the National Lampoon radio show. Belushi broke it open for a lot of people and made it possible for find the opportunities. I was lucky. The spotlight would be on them, and I’d be the spare-part, like if they needed an extra bride-groom. I was lucky all the way.

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

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Allen Hughes' "The Defiant Ones" Wins Best Music Film | 2018 GRAMMY

Director Allen Hughes' four-part documentary takes home Best Music Film honors for its portrayal of the unlikely partnership that changed the music business

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 02:09 am

The team behind The Defiant Ones celebrated a big win for Best Music Film at the 60th GRAMMY Awards. The crew awarded include director Allen Hughes and producers Sarah Anthony, Fritzi Horstman, Broderick Johnson, Gene Kirkwood, Andrew Kosove, Laura Lancaster, Michael Lombardo, Jerry Longarzo, Doug Pray & Steven Williams.

In a year rife with quality music documentaries and series, the bar has been set high for this dynamic category. The Defiant Ones is a four-part HBO documentary telling the story of an unlikely duo taking the music business by storm seems better suited for fantastical pages of a comic book, but for engineer-turned-mogul Jimmy Iovine and super-producer Dr. Dre, it's all truth.The Defiant Ones recounts their histories, their tribulations and their wild success. These include first-hand accounts from those who were there in Iovine's early days, such as Bruce Springsteen and U2's Bono, as well as those on board when Dre and Iovine joined forces, such as Snoop Dogg and Eminem.

The competition was stiff as the category was filled with compelling films such as One More Time With Feeling, Two Trains Runnin', Soundbreaking, and Long Strange Trip. 

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

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Portugal. The Man To Aida Cuevas: Backstage At The 2018 GRAMMYs

Also see James Fauntleroy, Reba McIntire, Latroit, and more after they stepped off the GRAMMY stage

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 05:39 am

What do artists do the moment they walk off the GRAMMY stage from presenting, accepting an award or performing? Now, you can find out.

Take a peak at Album Of The Year GRAMMY winner Bruno Mars, 60th GRAMMY Awards Host James Cordon, Cardi B minutes before her electrifying performance of "Finesse," and more!

Also see Best Pop Duo/Group Performance GRAMMY winners Portugal. The Man posing with their first career GRAMMY Award, Best Roots Gospel Album GRAMMY winner Reba McIntire right after she walked offstage, Best R&B Song GRAMMY winner James Fauntleroy, Best Remixed Recording GRAMMY winner Latroit, and many more, with these photos from backstage during the 60th GRAMMY Awards.

Getting The Latest Music News Just Got Easier. Introducing: GRAMMY Bot. Find it On KIK and Facebook Messenger 

Bruno Mars Wins Song Of The Year | 2018 GRAMMYs

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Bruno Mars Wins Song Of The Year | 2018 GRAMMYs

The Hawaiian native takes home Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like" at the 60th GRAMMY Awards

GRAMMYs/Jan 29, 2018 - 08:11 am

Feeling the 24K Magic, Bruno Mars' successful progress through the categories he's been nominated in at the 60th GRAMMY Awards picked up another one at Song Of The Year for "That's What I Like."


Christopher Brody Brown and Philip Lawrence co-write with Mars under the name Shampoo Press & Curl. The other winning songwriters for Mars' hit tonight in this category are James Fauntleroy and production team "The Sterotypes" — Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus and  Jonathan Yip.

For additional "Finesse" on stage at the 60th GRAMMY Awards, Mars was joined by Cardi B for a reprise of their 148-million-views hit remix.

The Album Of The Year GRAMMY Award wrapped up the night and wrapped up Bruno Mars' complete rampage through his six nominated categories — now six wins.

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Mariah Carey Tells Fans Fire Music Is Coming With New Album 'Caution'

Mariah Carey

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Mariah Carey Tells Fans Fire Music Is Coming With New Album 'Caution'

The sultry R&B/pop superstar has announced she will release her 15th studio album next month – what will she bring us this time around?

GRAMMYs/Oct 17, 2018 - 05:39 am

Never one to do things quietly, the GRAMMY-winning R&B/pop diva with the angelic voice Mariah Carey came boldly onto the scene in 1990 with her GRAMMY-nominated debut self-titled album. At the 33rd GRAMMY Awards she took home her first two wins: Best New Artist and for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for "Vision Of Love," which she performed on the GRAMMY stage. The song was the album's first single and Carey's first No. 1 song. Since taking center stage at the beginning of the '90s the star hasn't looked back, releasing 13 studio albums and plenty of hits over the years. Four years after the release of her last album, she has announced that her next one is a month away. What will she serve up on her 15th LP?

The star recently shared on Twitter that her latest album is called Caution and will be released on Nov. 16, 2018. We first got a hint of a new album on Sept. 13 when she announced an album was in the works and released the lead single, "GTFO." The album's second single, "With You," followed on Oct. 4.

On "GTFO" she confidently asks a soon-to-be-ex lover "How 'bout you get the f*** out?" in breathy vocals over a slow, melodic beat by GRAMMY-winning producer Nineteen85. "With You" feels like a classic Carey R&B love song with her angelic vocals backed by snapping and a melodic slow jam groove produced by hip-hop beat maker DJ Mustard, who lets her voice shine on an uncharacteristically mellow track for him. These songs hint that her latest release will give us songs that not only showcase her incredible vocal range and versatility, but also give us both nostalgia-inducing tracks as well as radio-ready hits.

"GTFO" gives us a taste of some of the new flavor that she is bringing to her new album, singing the song's coy lyrics completely in more-understated breathy vocals without belting any big high notes, not even during the chorus. It's a catchy, playful breakup song, as she confidently sings "get the f*** out/how 'bout you take your tings and be on your merry way?/Fly off with the wind, bye bye baby/How 'bout you scusami, Mimi'll call you a valet."

The song was co-written and co-produced by Jeff Jefferies aka Nineteen85, who is half of OVO R&B duo dvsn and is responsible for producing some of Drake's biggest hits, including the GRAMMY-winning mega-hit "Hotline Bling." On the Drake's song "Emotionless" from his latest album, Scorpion, he samples Carey's lyrics from remixed classic hit "Emotions." Hopefully Jefferies has some catchy hits up his sleeve for Carey, and maybe even brings in some OVO artist surprises.

Carey has released some great collabs over the years, a majority with R&B and hip-hop artists, including Boyz II Men on heartfelt slow jam "One Sweet Day" from 1995's Daydream and Jay-Z on the upbeat classic belter "Heartbreaker" from 1999's Rainbow. We can only hope that the new album will offer some new, soon-to-be-classic hits with some of our other favorite artists.

Her most recent album, Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse, released in 2014, had more collab tracks than usual for her, which could perhaps point towards some hot features on Caution. The deluxe edition of the 2014 album had six songs with other artists, including rappers Nas, Fabolous, Wale and R. Kelly as well as R&B singers Miguel and Mary J. Blige. The  album's lead single, "Beautiful," has Miguel and Carey singing a soulful, feel-good duet, while "Dedicated" features a bounce-y, electronic-infused hip-hop beat with a verse from Nas. Seeing that she worked with big-time hip-hop producers on the new album's lead singles, we can only hope that they not only offered their production genus to more of the tracks, but perhaps brought some of their friends into the studio as well.

Fans only have to wait a month for the full dose of new music from Carey, but until then we will send our prayers to the music gods that the album will feature all of our dream collabs, perhaps some old and new friends, and offer up some new favorite songs, with some to slow dance to and others to belt out in the shower.

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