Paradise (John Prine song)

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Song by John Prine
from the album John Prine
RecordedA&R Studios, New York
GenreFolk music
Songwriter(s)John Prine

"Paradise" is a song written by John Prine for his father, and recorded for his 1971 debut album, John Prine. Prine also re-recorded the song for his 1986 album, German Afternoons. The song is about the devastating impact of strip mining for coal, whereby the top layers of soil are blasted off with dynamite or dug away with steam shovels to reach the coal seam below. The song is also about what happened to the area around the Green River in Kentucky because of strip mining. The song references the Peabody Coal Company, and a town called Paradise in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, where the Tennessee Valley Authority operated the Paradise Fossil Plant, a coal-fired electric generating station.[1] The area has suffered serious economic downturn because of the decline of coal mining, caused mainly by the abundance of natural gas. Paradise Fossil Plant Units 1 and 2 went on-line in 1963 and were retired in 2017; Unit 3 went on-line in 1970 and was retired in 2020. In the song Prine asks to have his ashes dispersed on the Green River. After his death in 2020 this wish was fulfilled.[1] TVA replaced the Fossil Plant with the natural-gas fired Paradise Combined Cycle Plant.[2]

John Fogerty, one of the scores of artists who have covered "Paradise," told Acoustic Guitar magazine in a 2009 interview that "Paradise" is "a touchstone for people like us who decry the way corporations get to run roughshod over what may be desired by the little guy, but he’s powerless to stop it or stand in the way.[3]" The most successful chart-wise version of the song was by Lynn Anderson in 1976, peaking at #26 on the Billboard country chart.

Notable cover versions[edit]

External video
video icon Sturgill Simpson and John Prine Perform "Paradise" (Mr. Peabody's Coal Train), 4:03, Recording Academy


  1. ^ a b "Paradise Fossil Plant". Tennessee Valley Authority. Retrieved Feb 22, 2020.
  2. ^ "Paradise Combined Cycle Plant". Tennessee Valley Authority. Retrieved Feb 22, 2020.
  3. ^ "Guitar Lesson: Exploring John Prine's Simple but Distinctive Acoustic Approach". Acoustic Guitar. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  4. ^ "Soundtracks for The Pride of Jesse Hallam (1981) (TV)". Retrieved 2016-10-05.

External links[edit]