Paradise (John Prine song)
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|Song by John Prine|
|from the album John Prine|
|Recorded||A&R Studios, New York|
"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 now operates a coal-fired electric generating station. The area has suffered serious economic downturn because of the decline of coal mining, caused mainly by the abundance of natural gas; TVA has converted two of the three units at Paradise to gas, and wants to do likewise with the third.
Notable cover versions
- Jackie DeShannon recorded her version of "Paradise" for her 1972 album, Jackie, on Atlantic Records.
- John Denver released a cover of "Paradise" on his 1972 album, Rocky Mountain High.
- Tom T. Hall recorded his version of "Paradise" for his album, The Magnificent Music Machine.
- Jim and Jesse recorded and performed the song in the early 1970s.
- The Everly Brothers, natives of Muhlenberg County, recorded a version for their 1973 album Pass the Chicken & Listen.
- The Country Gentlemen recorded a version for their 1973 album The Country Gentlemen.
- The Seldom Scene recorded versions for their 1973 album Act II and for their 2014 album Long Time... Seldom Scene.
- Lynn Anderson recorded her version of "Paradise" for her 1976 album, All the King's Horses. The song was also released as a single and peaked at No. 26 on the US Country chart.
- Roy Acuff recorded "Paradise" in 1980.
- A cover recorded by Johnny Cash was used in the soundtrack of the 1981 TV movie The Pride of Jesse Hallam, which starred Cash in the title role. This version was later released on the compilation album Personal File.
- "Paradise" was the end credit song for the film Fire Down Below.
- Tim Flannery, former baseball player, recorded a version of "Paradise" on his 1999 album Pieces of the Past.
- Jimmy Buffett has played "Paradise" twice in concert, in 2002 at Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati and again in 2008 at Riverbend. The 2008 Riverbend recording appears on Buffett's 2010 CD Encores.
- Pat Green & Cory Morrow covered "Paradise" on their album Songs We Wish We'd Written, which was released in 2001.
- Dwight Yoakam recorded the song on his 2004 compilation album, Dwight's Used Records. This rendition is divided into two tracks. The first track has a slower tempo, while the second track has a faster tempo.
- Hayseed Dixie often include the song in their live setlist and vocalist John Wheeler (aka Barley Scotch) has referred to it on several occasions as his favorite song ever recorded.
- John Fogerty recorded a version as the lead off track for his 2009 album The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again.
- John Kadlecik performed this live in an acoustic performance 2011-06-22 at the New Deal Cafe.
- Jamestown Revival recorded the song as the second song on their 2013 EP California
- "Soundtracks for The Pride of Jesse Hallam (1981) (TV)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-10-05.