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 and recorded by American singer-songwriter John Prine for his 1971 self-titled debut album. Prine would later re-record the song for his 1986 album German Afternoons.


"Paradise" is about the devastating impact of surface mining for coal, whereby the top layers of soil are blasted off with dynamite or dug away with steam shovels to reach a coal seam below, on Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, the home county of Prine's parents.[1] The song references coal mining corporation Peabody Energy and the former coal mining town of Paradise in Muhlenberg County, where the Tennessee Valley Authority operated the coal-fired Paradise Fossil Plant.[2] In late 1967, Paradise was abandoned and demolished to accommodate an expansion of the power plant.[3] The TVA has since converted the Paradise Fossil Plant, now the Paradise Combined Cycle Plant, to run on natural gas.[4]

In the final verse of "Paradise", Prine asks, "When I die, let my ashes float down the Green River". After his death in 2020, this wish was fulfilled, and in 2022 a park by the Rochester Dam on the Green River was dedicated to him.[5]

Notable cover versions[edit]

John Fogerty, one of many artists who have covered "Paradise," told Acoustic Guitar in 2009 that the song was "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."[6] The most successful version of the song was by released by Lynn Anderson in 1976, peaking at #26 on the Billboard country chart.

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


  1. ^ Barry, Dan (April 6, 2016). "John Prine Endures, With a Half-Smile and a Song". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on March 30, 2020. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  2. ^ "Paradise Fossil Plant". Tennessee Valley Authority. Retrieved Feb 22, 2020.
  3. ^ "Paradise Is Dead, Devil is Blamed". Dubuque, Iowa: The Telegraph-Herald. Associated Press. December 29, 1967. p. 17 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Paradise Combined Cycle Plant". Tennessee Valley Authority. Retrieved Feb 22, 2020.
  5. ^ Dyer, Diane (13 September 2022). "John Prine Memorial Park at Rochester Dam dedication set for October 1, 2022". Beachtree News.
  6. ^ "Guitar Lesson: Exploring John Prine's Simple but Distinctive Acoustic Approach". Acoustic Guitar. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  7. ^ "Soundtracks for The Pride of Jesse Hallam (1981) (TV)". Retrieved 2016-10-05.

External links[edit]